Apple Watch saves life of mountain biker

Ryan McConnaughey image via 10News San Diego

Imagine having a mountain biking accident that leaves you completely paralyzed. How can you call for help? For one biker, the answer to this question was to use Siri on an Apple Watch to call 911 and friends.

Spring Valley CA resident McConnaughey was 40 minutes into an evening ride in April when he had an accident. According to McConnaughey, “It was a steep section. My bicycle went forward, and I went over the handlebars, headfirst into the ground.” Although his helmet saved his head from injury, he ended up on his back and knew he had problems, stating that “I didn’t have movement from my neck down.”

The biker usually used his Apple Watch as a fitness tracker, but in this case, it saved his life. He asked Siri to call a friend who was aware of where he was riding, then both McConnaughey and his friend called 911. While waiting for assistance to arrive, he also called his girlfriend’s voicemail. Leaving a three-minute message, he told her “Didn’t know what was going to happen. Just wanted to say goodbye…”

He was located and airlifted to a hospital. Several surgeries to heavily damaged cervical vertebrae led to a diagnosis of quadriplegia. He spent months at the world-renowned Craig Rehabilitation Center in Denver, Colorado — a leading facility for rehabilitation of spinal and brain injury patients — and is now home with limited motion in his arms and legs.

McConnaughey finished an interview with San Diego’s 10News saying “That watch saved my life. No doubt about it. No way anybody would have found me. I never would have thought I’d be using an Apple Watch to make a life-saving phone call.”

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!