sport

QPR star speaks out on injury concerns

Wheeler only missed one game but knows how easily careers can be ruined

(Image: QPR FC)

David Wheeler admits to being hugely relieved that his recent quad strain only kept him sidelined for one match.

The former Exeter midfielder is already making a good impression at Loftus Road, and marked his first start with a goal and a man of the match award at Middlesbrough.

His training ground injury then forced Wheeler to miss the stalemate with Burton Albion, but he was back on the bench for the games against Barnsley and Fulham, coming on as a sub in the latter.

“After the personal highs of getting my first start, goal and man of the match award at the Riverside, I had to endure my first setback at the club so far,” he told QPR's official website.

“An unfortunate strain of my quad in training meant that I was forced to sit out of our home draw to Burton. However, I was relieved that the injury was minor and that I was able to take my place on the bench at Barnsley the following week.

“Injuries have a huge influence on a team’s prospects for the season, and a player’s prospects for their career. The timing and severity of injuries can disrupt the cohesion and momentum of the team. One injured player can cause a cascade of events which leads to a different selection, perhaps followed by a change in formation, and then maybe even a change in style.

Derby downer: QPR go down to Fulham

“Ultimately, this could be the determining factor in a change of fortunes for the team, good or bad. Most players are faced with a decision on their injuries on an almost weekly basis, whilst fully aware of the aforementioned ramifications.

“Multiple paths of how to deal with an injury are available and experience does not always lead to choosing the right path. There have been times I have played with a ‘knock’ or a strain and luckily avoided exacerbating the problem. Other times I have made the problem worse or created new problems.

“It is about navigating your way through a season and a career, constantly trying to make the sensible decision for yourself and your team after all the risk assessments. The trouble is that when you are faced with a local derby, a cup final, a televised game or a top of the table clash - depending on your motivations - the gamble can become irresistible.

“This dilemma is commonplace in football and the decisions made can sometimes make or break what is an undoubtedly privileged, but highly volatile career.”

Wheeler played the last six minutes against Fulham, a minute before the visitors scored their crucial second goal, and although Conor Washington pulled one back in injury time, Wheeler was left to reflect on missed opportunities for his side.

“A very fortuitous opener from the visitors broke the deadlock in the first half but after a missed penalty we felt confident we would get back into the game,” he added.

“Three changes brought myself, Matt and Conor into the action to push for a win and despite the latter grabbing a goal, and Matt reliably causing mayhem in the opposition goalmouth, we were again left to reflect on what might’ve been.”

View full mobile page