Athlete Spotlight – Gabriel George: Finding Purpose Through Archery
January 6, 2022 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON – HN (Ret.) Gabriel “Gabe” George joined the Navy in July 2004, where is served as a Hospital Corpsman. Just weeks after returning home from his second deployment, George was involved in a devastating motorcycle accident, which ultimately led to a right arm amputation.
As part of his recovery journey, George attended a summer adaptive sports clinic for veterans. George reminisced that during the archery session, where he hit the target on his first shot, he immediately fell in love with the sport. He continued with saying, “[Archery] gave me a goal, something I hadn’t really had in years.”
George said, “The first adaptive sports camp was life-changing…it’s all about being able to find something you can do. Move just one body part and the rest of the body wants to follow and move, too.”
People close to Gabe said that he is known for his fighting spirit and his consistent strive to fight against perceived limitations.
George shared his advice to fellow warriors, “Once you see that you can do one sport, you’ll be inspired to keep trying other sports.” In addition to archery, George is an avid, golfer, pickleball player, rower, sailor, scuba diver, and tennis player.
George said that, outside of archery, his favorite adaptive sport is sitting volleyball. George expressed that, “[Sitting volleyball] is my team sport. It’s the push from my teammates, the roar in the crowd…I guess I’m just a junkie for that kind of energy.”
George’s dedication to adaptive sports led him to participating in the 2019 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games, being selected to represent Team Navy during the 2021 DoD Warrior Games (prior to its cancellation) and Team US during the 2022 Invictus Games, and a candidacy for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics (prior to its cancellation).
Navy Wounded Warrior is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families.
The Warrior Games are a Paralympic-style competition among more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military, as well as from international armed forces. The 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games would have been hosted at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida from September 12-22, 2021. The invitation-only event was going to feature 12 sports: archery, cycling, field, golf, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting (precision air), sitting volleyball, swimming, track, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. The 2021 DoD Warrior Games were canceled due to ensure the safety, health and well-being of our service members and local communities as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to affect the country.