Coronavirus halts student’s internship


Things couldn’t have been going better for sports rehabilitation student Jonny Wallbank. In his final year at the University of Salford, he was enjoying an internship at Midlands football club Solihull Moors F.C.

But in March the FA announced that English football at all levels would be suspended until the 30th April and the upcoming European Championships have been pushed back until the summer of 2021 as the country was put into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Young student Jonny’s time at Solihull Moors was put on hold as the club’s normal day-to-day training was postponed. The intern sports rehabilitator’s contract with the club was cut short until further notice.

He said: “During the early stages, we took precautions (with coronavirus) especially with the involvement of the academy players who attend a school which had been on a skiing trip to Italy recently. As things have unfolded recently, we have been unable to continue working and I have been sent home.”

Jonny working at the Atlanta Braves baseball team during the summer of 2019

The 21-year-old from Tamworth aspires to work at the world’s top clubs but fears the current pandemic may slow down his progress in the industry.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Moors. It has been a fantastic experience where I have learnt lots of tips and tricks from the physio as well as having fun joining in with training drills and matches, I hope I can go back once all of this has blown over,” said Jonny.

Alongside his studies and his internship, Jonny runs his own small business, offering mobile sports massage and rehabilitation. However, due to the current national lockdown all of his business has come to a drastic halt.

“I was treating two patients once a fortnight but with the latest restrictions in place, I’m unable to visit them. Both of these require hands on treatment so video calls or alternatives are not sufficient,” he added.

This sudden stoppage in business has severe knock-on effects, whether it be the vital income for a student or the important treatment his patients require.

@jonnywallbank_sportsrehab: Instagram post displaying Jonny’s learning and progression in the industry

Despite the extremity of these times, Jonny still sets his targets high for the future and doesn’t want this time out to knock his spirits.

“I’m hoping to start a Masters degree in Physiotherapy in September. I would like to continue to help out at the Moors by choosing to do elective placements with them, but this is all very up in the air with the lack of contact and structure of my degree currently,” he said.


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