STRATFORD, Okla. (KFOR) – On the outside, Skylar Joslin is a normal teenager.
He loves footall, track, basketball and all things sports.
However, on the inside he fights a rare battle.
Skylar was sitting in class in April of 2018, when he got an alarming notification on his two-week-old Apple Watch.
“I got a text message along with a screenshot of his heart rate that was 190,” said Skylar’s mom Liz. “The following message saying, ‘Mommy, there’s something wrong. I’m not doing anything.'”
Skylar said he immediately knew something was off.
“I was kind of worried cause I didn’t realize it, and it was saying something was wrong with my heart,” he said.
Liz rushed to the middle school in a panic.
“So much fear, like, ‘What in the world?! He’s an athlete! He’s healthy! Why is my child’s heart rate going up?'” she said.
They drove 14 minutes to the emergency room, and in that time she says Skylar’s heart rate reached 202 BPM.
“From the time this happened till his heart surgery, his cardiologist called and said his heart rate got up to 280 in the middle of the night! Two-hundred and eighty!” she said.
Skylar was diagnosed the next day at OU Children’s with Supraventricular Tachycardia, or SVT.
The disease forces the heart to speed up, and over time it can weaken a person’s heart.
Skylar underwent a cardiac ablation.
It was a seven-and-a-half hour surgery to help fix his heart’s rhythm.
“They call me every hour telling me they’re still in his heart, and that’s the update we got – ‘We’re still in Skylar’s heart,’ and I was like, ‘What does that mean?’” Liz said.
For months after, the then 13-year-old was in and out of doctor’s offices, all the while hoping he could get back to his passion.
“That boy prayed every time we went in that they don’t take football,” Liz said.
Amazingly enough, just a short time later, Skylar was back on the field, this time playing with some extra equipment – wires hanging off his heart monitor while he storms the field as a running back.
He says his football coach, Coach Martin, watched him closely every step of the way.
Now Skylar wears his Apple Watch every day, and his situation has even convinced some others to get one of their own.
“My science teacher, which is also my youth leader, she got one because of it,” Skylar said.
He has one more procedure until he can live wire-free.
“It’s going to allow Skylar to participate in all sports, all activity without wires,” Liz said.
The Joslin’s are amazed that buying their teenage son an Apple Watch changed their lives.
“If I wouldn’t have gotten his Apple Watch, I don’t know that I would’ve ever known. I mean it’s unknown how long it would’ve been going on or how long it would’ve really taken,” Liz said.
Their family held on tight to their faith through it all.
“There’s always a reason for everything, and that God has a reason for this, and now he thinks that his reason is to share heart awareness,” Liz said.
Skylar’s too humble to say it, but he’s a leader.
He’ll be the face of the southeastern Oklahoma American Heart Association Heart Walk on April 25.