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One-armed Navy veteran from Jacksonville to compete at archery in Invictus Games

Gabe George lost the use of his right arm after a motorcycle accident in 2008, but later this month he'll compete with some of the best athletes in the world.

ST JOHNS, Fla. — They are some of the most inspiring athletes on the planet - Injured servicemen and servicewomen from around the world will gather in the Netherlands for the Invictus Games later this month.

A Navy veteran from Jacksonville will compete in archery at the Invictus Games, and this Wounded Warrior takes aim at more than just one sport.

Gabe George has one arm and he's an archer, his disability from a car accident in 2008 doesn't get in the way of the sport he loves.

"It was baffling for me at first," recalled George, "my first time watching other people shoot, I thought it's fun, but I can't do it, I have one arm."

During a VA summer sports clinic, a Paralympic coach named Joe Bailey taught George how to attach an apparatus to the string of his bow that lets him pull the string and fire an arrow with his teeth.  

"Bite down with your back teeth because your front teeth come out easily," advised George with a smile.

George got so good at adaptive archery that he's going to represent the United States at the Invictus Games later this month. While there, he will also compete in swimming and rowing. He's been able to participate in many other sports like cycling, pickleball and competitive sailing through Wounded Warrior Project.

"I love sports because you play, it's about playing, it's not just about competition sometimes," said George, "you're playing and doing something."

Oh by the way, he's also a certified rescue diver. All of his activities, specifically his first adaptive sport of archery, saved Gabe George from dark thoughts after the loss of his arm.

"When I got injured, you go to this place where you feel like you're a brittle snowflake and nobody understands you, you're by yourself," remembered George.

When he joins other injured military members at the Invictus Games, he'll experience his greatest joy, sharing his love of adaptive sports with people like him.

"You realize you are a snowflake, but you're in a blizzard with other snowflakes and you're powerful together. That encourages me," said George.

If veterans or their family members are looking to connect with Gabe George or participate in events like he does, they can contact the Wounded Warrior Project by clicking here. 

The Invictus Games are April 16th-22nd in The Hague, Netherlands. George will train with other United States veterans in Washington D.C. prior to competing internationally.  

More information about the Invictus Games, click here.

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