A few years ago, Ursin Camenisch was an air ambulance pilot who was troubled by the medical conditions he saw in his patients on a daily basis. He would continually see people in need of emergency medical care due to a lack of physical activity. Camenisch decided that something needed to be done when the paramedics on one of his flights told him that the patient onboard would need to have their foot amputated due complications associated with type two diabetes.
The patient in question had a dry, blackened, and dying foot, a symptom of gangrene to due excess sugar accumulation and nerve damage. Essentially, the foot was rotting. Gangrene in the extremities is extremely common in type two diabetes patients. Type two diabetes is a chronic condition that is linked to a lack of physical exercise and can cause symptoms like these along with many others. Nearly one in three Americans either have diabetes or are pre-diabetes. Type two diabetes is almost always a preventable condition. Ursin still remembers that moment.
“One memorable moment was when my face almost touched a dead, black, crusty foot hanging out from underneath the sheets. The paramedics explained to me that the patient needs to amputate the foot due to diabetes. That foot certainly was an eye opener,” says Camenisch, who had been physically active since he started skiing when he was just five years old. It was at this moment that the air ambulance pilot realized he needed to do something about the obesity epidemic, a reluctance to participate in physical activity, and the public health crisis that has ensued from these issues. Seeing a patient that needed to have their foot amputated due to a lack of physical activity was the impetus for creating a fitness app. Seeing a gap in the market, Camenisch brought a team together and began developing what he hopes will help to combat the range of health problems that can come about as a result of too little physical activity.
The app, released August 24, is called Find Fit Friends For Free or 5F for short. The basic goal of the app is to help like-minded people to meet up and play sports. There are 105 sports in total, and more sports will be added in accordance with user requests.
“The app has four skill levels; beginner, intermediate, expert, and most importantly, never done but want to try,” notes the software developer, who previously developed an app for pilots. The user simply chooses a sport and a skill level, and the app will match them up with others in the area that have similar interests. “The idea of the app is that I can reach a lot of people with this. All you need is internet access and a smart phone.” The release date of August 24 intentionally coincided with many colleges and universities’ return dates. This presents an opportunity for many college students to get out, be social, and improve their health through sports.
“I’m sure students will love this app. It allows them to meet new people, be more social, and reduce stress through sports,” Camenisch stated regarding the August release date. “The main goal with the app is to have people meet up and have someone to do sports with and be active.” The goal for Camenisch and his team at the moment is to increase the app’s user base and to encourage more people to go out and play sports and get fit. “If you find someone else to go do a sport with you, you’re more likely to actually do the sport and you’ll enjoy it more.”
The app is currently available on the iOS operating system. Within the next six months, there are plans to release the app for Android-system phones. More information can be found about the app on their website; http://app5f.com/. The app presents a great opportunity for UNCG students to meet up with each other and try a new sport, continue playing a sport they did in high school, or just to meet other students who want to get in shape.