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Holly Chandler COVID-19 Story

In October, the COVID-19 global pandemic was in full flow leaving the world pretty much at a standstill. Every industry, business and individual was effected and football was no different.

After a total of 21 days in isolation, NGS client & Coventry full back Holly Chandler, Holly describes how this time was for her:

“On Friday 23rd October at 17:30 my phone pinged as I was driving to pick up a bench press. I parked up to read the Coventry group chat ‘Positive Covid tests, please stay at home until further information is shared’ I drove straight home and ran upstairs locking myself in my university bedroom within a shared student house in Birmingham. I was freaked! I could not stop thinking, am I positive? Later that evening, I received the news I was negative but now must self- isolate for 14 days after potentially coming into close contact with positive players.

Absolute nightmare!

For the next 14 days I would be self-isolating in just my university bedroom. On the bright side, at least it was en suite. I remember after telling my housemates on FaceTime the news, the first thing I did was buy a mini fridge on Argos with next day delivery. My bedroom became my studio, staying in just my room would allow my housemates to continue as normal. I was practically camping in my bedroom cooking using my air fryer, filling the kettle up from the bathroom tap and washing up in the bathroom sink. However, having my coffee machine was a life saver!

My parents where amazing, on the Saturday morning they drove up from Bristol with a car full of food and the bench press I had failed to collect earlier. After some furniture rearrangement my bedroom was complete, I even squeezed the bench press in and allowed space for the next 14 days’ worth of home workouts.

I remember, the following week went quite fast, as a final year physiotherapy student who was supposed to be on placement I had plenty of work to be doing. My daily routine consisted of a home workout supplied by staff at Coventry, university work and multiple FaceTimes with family, friends and the Coventry girls. In this time my 84 year old grandparents learnt to FaceTime, a special experience for me and just shows it’s never too late to enter the world of technology!

I would often treat myself to some fresh air, hanging my head out of my first floor bedroom window on numerous occasions each day. I became a pro at cooking chicken, wedges and veg in my air fryer and can now honestly say powdered soup sachets that just need water are not as bad as they sound.

As an athlete I was concerned for my diet. I found it so important to continue to eat well even if I was limited to mostly long life and dry food items. Coventry provided advice on eating appropriately tailoring my calorie intake to a time of reduced physical activity, this was super helpful. Additionally, I tried to maintain physical fitness through a combination of home HIIT workouts, weight sessions and imaginary skipping being mindful that jumping in my bedroom sounded like I was coming through the living room ceiling. The bench press was a great time killer, I just didn’t realise the dedication needed for big biceps, my arm transformation is still pending, aha!

Looking back, I was mentally quite strong, I don’t remember feeling upset at any point, think I was too busy with university work to stop and think. My evenings where quieter and this was when I often felt frustrated and alone but this was overcome by watching the Great British Bake Off or having the fantastic support of staff at Coventry who would constantly be checking in.

On day 11 my situation took a unique twist. It was a requirement to get a Covid-19 test by the club in order to return to football. After having no symptoms throughout my isolation on day 11, I tested positive. This was a complete shock! I felt great, no symptoms but now I must start another 10 days of isolation. I was so upset, I cried on facetime to my parents for an hour, the prospect of being positive and stuck inside for another 10 days was a lot to take in. I struggled to come to terms with the fact I now had coronavirus. However, this isolation was a little different, my housemate whom I had zero contact with for the past 11 days also tested positive at work. 

My 5 housemates were starting a period of isolation and after receiving guidance from Public Health England I was allowed to join them. Free from the 4 walls of my university bedroom and now able to burn a little more energy climbing the stairs of my house multiple times a day.

The 6 of us self-isolated in our university house together, being surrounded by friends boosted my mental wellbeing. Making the most of an awful situation and with no one feeling unwell we tried to have fun completing puzzles, attempting to become TikTok famous, home workouts and the occasional take out. Being away from the Coventry team for so long was tough; I tried my best to support the girls as they entered a gruelling week of games straight out of isolation. Supporting the girls on the YouTube live stream as they played Aston Villa and Crystal Palace I was super proud of them, their work rate was immense. I couldn’t wait to re-join them!

On Friday 13th November, unlucky for some but a great day for me, I was free! My 21 day isolation completed, I set my alarm for 07:00 and went for a run, even got a PB 5K time! Think I was running on pure adrenaline and happiness to be outside. The following Tuesday I returned to training, and played my first 90 minutes in a month that Thursday against Sheffield United in the cup. A few weeks on, everything is back to somewhat normal, I did leave isolation to be in another national lockdown but with football continuing and the support of family, friends and teammates I will continue to push on with my physiotherapy degree and football journey. I am just thankful that everyone at Coventry was okay and we have come out the other side stronger, ready to push on with the remaining games before Christmas.”

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