The PFA caught up with overseas-based member and Socceroo Jimmy Jeggo recently to see how his career has been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic and how he has adapted. Jeggo has been plying his trade in the Austrian Bundesliga since his move from A-League outfit Adelaide United in 2016. The 28-year-old midfielder moved to Sturm Graz before joining FK Austria Wein in 2018.

PFA: When did you first hear about Coronavirus and did you think it would be such a great threat to people’s health around the world?  

JJ: I first heard about Coronavirus when it started to take grip in China and started making the news. At first I was a little bit blasé about it and didn’t think it would spread the way it has and affect as many countries and people around the world as it has. 

PFA: Did you think it would have such a significant impact on football? 

Once there were reports of it spreading to Europe I sort of thought it might begin to have an impact on football, however, I didn’t realise the scale at which it would. Everything happened really quickly; we went from preparing for a game on Tuesday to having our league postponed on Wednesday and being in lockdown by Friday.

PFA: What is your current situation?

JJ: We have been in lockdown since about March 13 and it looks like it will continue a little while longer. We basically only leave home to go buy groceries once or twice a week and you are allowed to leave home once a day to go for a walk or run. 

PFA: How have you personally dealt with not being able to play football? 

JJ: It’s obviously been a bit of a shock to the system. We had just come back from our winter break and were just getting back into the routine of games week in, week out and then it was all shut down very quickly and within a few days we were locked up at home. You obviously miss the games and everything around that on the weekend but the biggest adjustment has been not going into training every day and the routine that comes with that. You miss football and you miss seeing all the boys. 

PFA: What are you doing at the moment to keep fit, physically? 

JJ: We have been given programs by the club to do while we are at home which includes running, strength work and a whole heap of stretching so I have obviously been doing that, going out to run most days a week, as well as working on a few areas that I probably wouldn’t be able to work on in season. 

PFA: What other activities or hobbies are you doing to pass the time? 

JJ: I’ve got a three-month old daughter so she’s obviously taking up a lot of my day and I’m absolutely loving getting to spend extra time with her. I’ve also managed to get myself into a routine quite quickly where I wake up early with her and go and get my training done in the morning to get me started for the day.

I always try and take an hour or two in the afternoon to try and read up or work on some things that I normally wouldn’t have time for, whether it’s things to do with coaching or football or looking into things with finances and real estate. 

PFA: How about mentally? Have you been coping well at this time given all of the negative news and without football? 

JJ: I think that’s where a routine and my daughter has really helped. I generally try not to think too far into the future and worry about things that may or not happen and so I’ve just tried to take it a day at a time and make sure I have a productive day in terms of training and what I get done and then obviously enjoy the time spent with my family. 

PFA: What advice would you give to other players to stay fit, active, mentally healthy and motivated at this time?

JJ: I think everyone is different and needs to find what works for them, but having a routine has really worked for me, whatever that routine may be. For me, getting up and training keeps me as close to my normal routine as possible and gives me a good start to the day.

For people that don’t have programs there is so much good stuff on the internet or social media that you can access to give keeping fit and active a bit of a structure. I also think it really helps to have a list of a couple of things you want to get done a day – you don’t have to go overboard – but whether it be doing a chore around the house or spending an hour a day doing a course online, things like that can really keep you in a good place mentally during this period. It also means that when you do sit down to play PlayStation, watch a movie or do whatever you do to chill out and lounge around, that you can really relax knowing you’ve made use of the day.

And finally the most important thing is to enjoy the extra time you get at home with your family, that’s the most important thing at the end of the day and it’s something that you should never take for granted.