Student Profile - Freddie Wee and UltraX

Freddie Wee is originally from Singapore and is a final year student studying the Masters in Osteopathy course, full-time at the UCO in London, UK.

When not studying Freddie is a keen cyclist, runner and climber. Freddie’s interest in sports has led him to become a volunteer helping with injuries and rehab for the UltraX ultramarathon running company. The company stages multistage marathons around the world.

Freddie recently shared his experiences of UltraX and studying at the UCO.

Q. How did you come to find out about UltraX and get involved?

Freddie: “I started out with UltraX through Osteo Adventures. It is an organization that gets osteopaths from all over to volunteer for outdoor events like UltraX running marathons.

“With that, we get a base camp, where we start and end the race. Where you have plinths laid out, osteo kit bags full of tapes and massage oil and whatever you need to help treat the patients or the runners.

“During the race at every 10 Kilometre interval, we have a checkpoint. Checkpoint for resources, like water…[and] some snacks and food.”

Q. What does volunteering for UltraX require you doing?

Freddie and other volunteers are stationed at checkpoints throughout the races to offer assistance.

Freddie: “If the runners come to you with a niggle like, ‘oh, I have a hip pain’, ‘I have a sore back’, ‘I have sore shoulders from running packs and stuff’… We get to do some hands-on treatment. Of course, COVID rules apply. We've got masks on, PPE on, full gloves on and we sanitize and wipe the plinths down every time.

“It's been amazing and rewarding because I have been on the other side of the world running, getting the pains and struggling through. But now I am on the other side helping them through. It does have a lot of stress as well because you want to treat them as fast as you can get them going.. because you don't want them to cool down fully and then they have to re-warm up again.

“But at the same time is it brings about a very critical diagnostic mind where you straightaway need to know what to assess, what to find and know your working diagnosis and then apply your hands-on techniques or taping techniques that are going to help the runners go through the race.”

Q. What's your feedback been from the runners that you've supported during this last race and in Jordan and any other ones before?

Freddie: “I think I think most of the runners are really grateful for us being there. It might be the first encounter for a lot of them to get treated by osteopaths. And it is amazing to bring the name of osteopathy out to the larger reach of the world.

“… We do get called 'magic hands'…. not that our hands are magic is just that our minds are well trained to know what to do and to help…, because of our four-year education.”

Q. So how has studying here at UCO helped equip you to be able to do things like this and what do you see for your future?

Freddie: “My time with the UCO has been amazing because of the great repertoire of knowledge and skills from all the great tutors. Some of whom have been all over the world treating and teaching.

“Some of them are pioneers in certain topics like obstetrics and paediatrics, and even some are really great in sports medicine. So that brings me to a great level of exposure, as well as expertise.

“Moving forward, definitely, I think I'm going to continue helping to bring the big name of osteopathy out into the wild reaches of the UK, and of course, the rest of the world, if possible. I'm from Singapore, so definitely there's a point in time when I'm going to go home, and… join a clinic or start a clinic. But now I'm busy with London because I'm working on… the Better Climber project, which is something that could help climbers or athletes learn about their bodies better. [Showing] how to help themselves manage pains and niggles while trying to get improve performance.”

Q. Last words?

Freddie: “I'm open for chats. If you have any questions about volunteering for UltraX, or any of these kind of pre-graduation events out there, let me know, get in touch and I'll be more than willing to point you to the right direction.”

Freddie’s full interview can be seen in the film linked here.

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