Disabled Navy veteran to compete in archery in Invictus Games

Gabe George is headed to the international competition later this month.

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Gabriel “Gabe” George may have lost the use of his right arm, but that won’t stop him from competing against some of the world’s top servicemen and servicewomen. 

George, of Jacksonville, Florida, will compete in the Invictus Games later this month. The Games, held in The Hague in the Netherlands bring together wounded, injured and sick veterans to compete in a variety of Olympic-style sports.

“I love sports because you play, it’s about playing, it’s not just about competition sometimes,” George told First Coast News. “You’re playing and doing something.”

George joined the Navy in 2004 and was deployed twice. In 2008, just a few weeks after arriving home from that second deployment, a car pulled out in front of him causing him to crash his motorcycle.

 Per Vantage Point, a Department of Veteran’s Affairs website, George suffered numerous serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, several broken bones and a paralyzed right arm.

After the accident, he went to the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, where instructors showed him he could still participate in sports, including archery. There, a coach showed him how to use a device that lets him fire the bow by pulling the string with his teeth.

“(It’s) at the top of the list of healing,” George told Vantage Point. “Being able to find something you can do, moving just one body part, the rest of the body wants to follow and move too,” George said.

In addition to archery, George will also compete in swimming and rowing for the United States.  

He also keeps himself busy with other endeavors.

In 2019, George was featured on an episode of Veterans Oceans Adventures and made an appearance on the GoBig Show, a competition show hosted by Snoop Dogg where he displayed his archery talents. 

He said Go-Big Show producers tracked him down after seeing him shooting on Instagram. “I had no idea what the show was about when I first heard about it,” he told Jacksonville.com.

George is proud that his success in sports is encouraging to others.

“People tell me they are inspired by watching me overcome,” he said in an interview with the Wounded Warrior Project. “As humans, we tend to repeat what we see. We share what makes us feel good — it catches fire and spreads. I find that feeling with recreational and competitive adaptive sports, and I hope to continue motivating and inspiring other overcomers everywhere.”

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