Gabe George was involved in a nearly fatal motorcycle accident in 2009. The accident altered everything he planned for in life.
Once looking toward an aspiring career as a Navy corpsman, he now faced a life of uncertainty with injuries that included a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and significant damage to his spinal cord, including serious trauma to the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the arms. His spinal cord had been completely torn from its root in the vertebra, resulting in a total loss of function — complete paralysis — of his right arm. His injuries forced a medical retirement from the U.S. Navy.
Nothing Will Be the Same; Some Things Never Change
While Gabe knew nothing would be the same after his injury, he also held tight to the belief that some things never change, including the values that breathe life into one’s world. Yes, the walls had crumbled, but his values created a stable and strong foundation to rebuild and create a new normal.
He held tight to the core values the Navy instilled within him — honor, courage, and commitment — and proceeded to find his new mission in life by reaching out for resources and connecting and building relationships with those around him.
Like many injured veterans across the globe, those values put him on a direct course to his new mission. For Gabe personally, he found adaptive sports.
Physical and mental wellness play important roles in a warrior’s recovery process, and adaptive sports have been growing in popularity among wounded warriors who are redefining their life after injury. Gabe learned about adaptive sports through offerings from multiple organizations, including Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
WWP’s Adaptive Sports program connects some of the most seriously wounded veterans with modified sports equipment and exercise routines that are specialized for each warrior’s unique injury. After each clinic, warriors receive tools and assistance to continue improving their new skills at home in their communities where they can take part in competitions or join adaptive sports teams.
Put simply, adaptive sports allow wounded warriors to enjoy the sports they loved before they were injured. It gives them an outlet to rediscover independence in recreational and competitive settings.
Being the Light for Another’s Journey
Gabe got active in competitive archery after a year and a half at the range, watching and learning from other shooters. He credits military training with creating the best practice techniques among wounded warriors.
“Veterans already trained in some of the worst situations,” Gabe said. “We are used to repetition and being committed to our training.” He followed that sentiment with an even more profound statement applicable to the love of country and sport. “When you are training for something you love, it’s hard not to be dedicated — it’s hard to make excuses.”
Such values rally those who Gabe deems the “overcomers” — the ones who went through it and survived. Those who are still weathering the storm. Those whose actions and character under adversity become a guiding light for another’s journey behind them.
“People tell me they are inspired by watching me overcome,” Gabe said. “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.”
Though active in adaptive sports since 2016, Gabe has been in the competitive arena for more than two years. He participates in adaptive sailing, cycling, pickleball, scuba diving, and is a regular contender in Paralympic Archery Tournaments. Gabe competed in the 2019 DOD Warrior Games for Team Navy and placed third in preliminaries for Individual Compound Open Archery. He was recently selected to compete in the 2020 Invictus Games for Team USA, though the event has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When not training or competing, Gabe is involved in speaking engagements and community outreach, including volunteering with multiple nonprofits and veteran organizations. Learn more about Gabe’s journey at gwgowithgabe.com or follow @TheOneArmedArcher on Instagram.
Learn more about WWP’s Adaptive Sports program here.
Contact: Vesta M. Anderson — Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.570.0771
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.