Saving someone's life? There's an app for that

California basketball coach credits iPhone application with helping him revive stricken player

(Update below) Here you go, Apple: You've been handed the perfect advertisement for your App Store.

From the Associated Press: A quick-thinking coach and a $1.99 iPhone application are being credited with saving the life of a Southern California teenager who collapsed during basketball practice. Xavier Jones stumbled, stopped and went down the day before Thanksgiving at La Verne Lutheran High School, about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The senior's heart apparently had stopped and he wasn't breathing, but head coach Eric Cooper and assistant coach John Osorno administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and were able to get him breathing again. Through an extremely fortunate coincidence, Cooper just the night before was reviewing CPR instructions on his iPhone provided by a paid application called Phone Aid. The app was conceived by Dr. Pontus Johansson of Sweden, who worked on it with developer Magnus Enarsson of Swedish software consultancy Entanke. When Phone Aid was released in October 2008, Johansson said, "I've been teaching CPR to laymen and hospital staff for many years and realized that they soon forget what they've learned. In a stressful situation it is even harder to remember. This is knowledge that could be useful to everyone; you never know when an accident may happen. And you always have your mobile phone with you." And while the heroes of this particular story clearly are the two coaches, Cooper credits Phone Aid for providing a valuable and timely refresher course. "It was really fresh and clear in my brain," Cooper told the Los Angeles Times. "We are trained in CPR, but the iPhone app was a stabilizer for us." No doubt it's the best $1.99 the coach ever spent. Jones isn't out of the woods yet. He's still in the hospital and has been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which thickens the heart and restricts blood flow. The condition can be deadly. According to the Associated Press, the genetic disease took the life of Loyola Marymount basketball star Hank Gathers 20 years ago. While the 6-foot-8-inch Jones is the starting center on a defending state championship team, he says his long-time dream is to become a doctor. When he gets that medical degree, Jones can thank his family, his quick-acting and cool-headed coaches, and the creators of an incredibly useful iPhone app. Props all around. Update: I was able to contact Dr. Johansson in Sweden via email and received this reply: "I've been so thrilled all day about this, running around on the ward telling everyone about it. This was the ultimate pay for all our work developing the app."

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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