13th #GreatHeights series – Dr Muhammad Hazwan Bin Khair
By Norfarah Mohamad
Joining us for our 13th KYSER #GreatHeights series is Muhammad Hazwan Bin Khair of class 2003 – A Sports Medicine Practitioner, a World Rugby Educator and the Malaysia Rugby’s Tournament Medical Coordinator. Dr Hazwan graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the International Medical University, which was where he found his love for Sports Medicine.
Along his career as a sport medicine practitioner, he became a father to 3 beautiful girls, Hannah, Amelia and Alayna. From the interview, we began to understand Dr Hazwan’s tough yet challenging journey from his KYS days until now.
A place to find and discover yourself
One thing in common in the KYSERs that we have managed to interview is that KYS has managed to bring out the best in them. This also holds true for Dr. Hazwan as the famed institution has allowed him to find himself.
“KYS gave me the support and opportunity to explore my interests and subsequently this is what led me to my current career pathway”
Admirably, Dr. Hazwan was an active student, contributing to various sectors in KYS . He was a dedicated college committee until he became Deputy Headboy in Form 5. As for sports, he was mainly involved in athletics of which he was the school athletic captain. He was also involved in rugby- his highest level of participation was the 2002 Xybase National Sevens. Even cooler, he played the trombone in the school orchestra.
One would definitely wonder how Dr. Hazwan managed to balance his time with so much on his plate. He does it by portraying himself as a student athlete, where he can challenge himself to excel both academically and sportswise.
A full high school experience is never a piece of cake for it to be enriching and impactful.Young Dr. Hazwan faced challenges the way all students do and he overcame them with a little gratitude. He always reminded himself to be blessed by all the opportunities KYS has offered. He constantly reminded himself that not many students get the chance to study in a well facilitated and comfortable institution.
He owes it to his parents for being the main inspiration and support to achieve his dreams. His father emphasised the importance of balance between sports and academics- to never slip up and neglect either one. His mother provided plenty of support and guidance; especially encouraging him to explore new ideas and avenues.
As for his ambitions, he was caught between law and medicine. In the end, it was his passion for human endeavour and the possibility of enhancing human performance that pushed him towards medicine.
Sports + Medicine
Using his knowledge of athletics, Dr. Hazwan became an athletic coach at his mother’s secondary school soon after completing SPM. He took up coaching certification and was subsequently offered to be a coach right up to the Selangor State level. This goes to show how outstanding on his field he was.
After that, he secured a JPA scholarship and did his A-Levels at the International Education Centre, UiTM Seksyen 17. There, he managed to enjoy their sports facilities and represented UiTM in several university and national athletic games. After the first semester of UiTM, he terminated his JPA scholarship and took a MARA loan which allowed him to chart his own path without being bonded.
Then, Dr Hazwan continued his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine at IMU. At IMU, he grabbed many opportunities that defined his future. He went for an elective program at the Narrabeen Sports Medicine Centre at Sydney Sports Academy. During his time there, he had the chance to collaborate with renowned athletes- some from Manly Sea Eagles, NSW Waratahs and even the Wallabies.
One of the challenges that he faced was getting a medical degree as he had a high study load which led to spending long hours studying. Despite that, he succeeded in maintaining a strong presence in the sports scene, proven by representing the institute in athletics and football. Another notable challenge for him was having to undergo 2 major knee reconstruction. The bright side; learning medicine from a patient’s point of view.
“The satisfaction of being able to balance both medicine and sports was indescribable”.
Right now, he’s going into the final year of his 4-year masters in Sports Medicine Program at University of Malaya. To add seasoning to the dish, he has also completed a professional diploma in sports nutrition and is now proud to be called a certified conditioning coach.
Moving up the career ladder
Since 2012, he has steadily been advancing himself as a sport medicine practitioner- from a house officer, medical officer, registrar and hopefully, a specialist soon.
“It is not easy; with the long hours, stressful working condition, highly demanding patients- but I enjoy what I do, and that is what matters most”.
The beauty of his profession is that not only he gets to work with normal people, he also gets to work with people with superhuman capabilities. This means that he caters to a wide range of population to tend to. Not only that, Dr. Hazwan finds it satisfying to see athletes perform well after sustaining injuries that he had tended to. Jokingly, he adds that this branch of medicine allows him to travel all over the world, meeting new people and gaining new experiences.
He gladly recalls some of his most memorable experiences; Being chosen as the national team doctor for Malaysian Rugby 15s to the Asia Rugby Championship for the past 2 years and also being appointed as team doctor for Singapore to the Touch Rugby World Cup the previous year.
Being in a highly dynamic line of work, he has to be quick on his feet and adapt quickly to changes. Therefore, constant revising of his medical knowledge is a must.
“What you read in the books now may be something of the past”.
He emphasises that knowledge and application of the knowledge are 2 separate things, so there is absolutely zero room for errors. Sports medicine is a collective workforce. Consequently, communication is key and he and his colleagues have to make decisions consensually.
Dr Hazwan notes that Malaysia has been lagging in embracing sports, a trillion-dollar industry. The people’s general idea of professionalism in the sports industry is that athletes will perform and get paid for it. Dr Hazwan sees sports medicine as one of the avenues for sports participation. The possibilities are endless- sports administration, sports journalism, and many more. This could be pivotal for nation building for a third world country like Malaysia.
Despite that, Malaysia has been doing quite well with catching up with other countries regarding sports. The country only needs more aspirants who are willing to close that gap.
In 20, 30 years from now, this ambitious young doctor hopes that he will become a sports physician soon. Right now, he is working towards modernising and improving the field of sports medicine while increasing its relevance in our modern society.
“Creating a World Class Sports Medicine Centre, enabled me to work with world class talents and playing a part in creating champions of the future.”.
Aspirations and Words of Advice
Ultimately, his goal is to provide the best for his family and the society. Life is a progress and one should never be content or they’ll never gain anything. Dr Hazwan believes in constantly creating new goals and targets to keep him on his feet and to never settle with less.
Moreover, Dr Hazwan also plans to involve himself in business and marketing. This is due to his reasoning that no matter how many talents or capabilities that we have, our inability to make ourselves available to current needs and wants of the modern world will render us irrelevant.
Dr Hazwan advises that we shouldn’t worry too much to the point where we make a hasty decision that we will regret sooner or later. Use this time to get to know yourself and try to fulfill your own interests instead of others.
Gratitude matters a lot. He advises that one should always be grateful and remain humble despite what we have. There are countless students out there who wish they could belong in the shoes of a KYS student. Therefore, never take anything for granted.
To the KYSERS out there…
“Despite different backgrounds, we are all from the same family. Let’s work to create an impact. Together.”.