Zentner: “Now is the time to contribute to society”
The injured goalkeeper speaks about undergoing his rehabilitation at home, the impact of the restrictions and the importance of following the recommended measures – “I’m trying to see the big picture.”
The number one suffered an injury to his cruciate ligament in the final match before the worldwide suspension in play due to the Coronavirus. Under normal circumstances Robin Zentner would currently be working around the clock with the physios and rehabilitation doctors on recovering from his knee injury. However, unfortunately nothing is normal at the moment. We will give you a further insight over the coming weeks as to how the players are undertaking their so-called “home office” and what measures they are taking to prevent boredom, whilst keeping up their fitness levels.
Robin, where are you speaking to us from?
Zentner: From the Bruchwegstadion: my knee is being treated by one of our physios while we’re still not in lockdown. Of course, whilst taking the recommended safety precautions. We’re disinfecting our hands and, since I’m the only injured player at the moment, there’s no one else in the building. The gym is empty as well.
So are the players all completely aware of the necessary measures?
Zentner: Yes, completely. As footballers we are all aware of our social responsibility, especially for our health system. And we both want and have to contribute by following the necessary measures. Looking at the conditions in Italian hospitals, it’s important for us to prevent that from happening here. Otherwise the situation could get a lot worse. I believe that, if people don’t take the measures seriously, then the government can simply tell people that they have to stay at home. A lockdown will be necessary if people don’t follow it.
"I think that’s foolish and a simply irresponsible attitude"
Are you affected at home?
Zentner: Not by the virus directly. But my grandmother is in the hospital and is now in rehab and my grandfather is in a nursing home. We can’t visit either of them at the moment. It’s a huge shame, especially for them because family time is really important. But it’s important to protect those who are at risk. It’s still possible for you to spread it to them.
There are lots of restrictions…
Zentner: …yes there are a lot. But you use this time to reflect and appreciate just how much we take for granted. Of course, you have to stay at home now and avoid doing lots of everyday things. But I can’t understand how some people are dealing with the situation. In other places around the world people are worried that a bomb will hit their house and here people are getting angry about having to stay at home for a bit. I think that’s foolish and a simple irresponsible attitude.
How are you finding your new day-to-day life?
Zentner: We live in a time when everyone is permanently connected to one another, no matter where you are. I personally feel like time is going a lot slower now. You have to sit down and learn how to do nothing again. For example I’ve started reading again. I’m at home all of the time and at the moment I can’t move properly anyway. I can’t go shopping; my girlfriend does that for me. I took all of the necessary equipment with me and bought some more so that I can treat myself and train. I walk with crutches and wear a splint 24 hours a day. I can barely put any strain onto my knee. I can still train my upper body so that I don’t lose too much muscle. Since the knee is still a bit swollen, I have to cool it; I can do lymph drainage at home and can work with electrical simulations.
“You have to find the right balance for yourself”
Weirdly I haven’t actually got bored yet (laughs). Of course I’m restricted but I find it quite easy to keep myself entertained. There’s also new information every hour on current events and developments. You have to find the right balance for yourself and not expose yourself to everything.
Did you set up a gym for all of the equipment?
Zentner: No they’re actually in my living room. My girlfriend is also very good at it and takes good care of me! When the weather is nice, like it has been this week, I go and work out in the garden; it’s a great alternative.
Will you continue treating your injury conservatively?
Zentner: I haven’t decided yet. The plan was actually to go and see a specialist this week. But that didn’t happen because of the virus. I have to be patient.
“Everyone needs to see the big picture”
Do you personally feel scared?
Zentner: No, but no one likes having a standard flu either. That’s also why we need to adhere to the guidelines. My girlfriend only leaves the house to go to the supermarket. But it’s not just about us or about individuals. Everyone needs to see the big picture. We have to understand that you have to avoid others in order to protect them. I’m not seeing any of my friends either; you can still live your life whilst restricting yourself. I’m now 25; my whole life I’ve been able to move around freely and meet anyone I wanted to. Now this is temporarily no longer the case. If I really want to see someone or talk to someone, I use Facetime. The quicker, and the more consistently we all stick to the measures, the sooner we can return to normality. Apparently not everyone seems to understand this; some people have to be forced to do so.
“When we’re all allowed out again we have to buy things”
What would such a rule mean for you?
Zentner: We can do so much online; get information, order stuff etc. We have everything. And, as already mentioned, so far we have always been able to do what we want and enjoy our freedom. Now is the time to contribute to society. In this respect I don’t want to speak of it being a enforcement, but rather a necessary measure. What I wish for is that people now save their money if they can. And when everything is open again, you can go out even more often and support the people who haven’t got any income at the moment. When we’re all allowed out again we have to buy things. It's all about solidarity.
It’s still unclear when football will be able to return. How do you prepare for it as a professional?
Zentner: It’s no different for us than it is for other people who enjoy their jobs. We want to play as quickly as possible. If it’s necessary then even without any fans, even though it won’t be the same. If that’s something we have to do then we have to accept it. We’re all hoping that we can move on as quickly as possible, even if football is only a small part of the big picture. If anything, perhaps we can use it as a means of spreading hope and making people happy.