By MaryTherese GriffinNovember 13, 2019
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- U.S. Army retired Sgt. 1st Class Greg Quarles knows what it's like to be on Team Army - he's done it twice before, competing in the 2016 and 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
"A third time [representing Team Army] is my goal. I've been working really hard to make it happen. I want to make Team Army and, ultimately, I want to represent the U.S. at the Invictus Games," says the retired Army Ranger.
Quarles has worked hard to recover from the injuries he sustained during his Army career, but even harder to lose weight.
Quarles gained weight after surgeries on his back and medications that kept him from being able to work out. "From my injuries, I had gained a lot of weight. I went from 215 - 220 to 365 pounds," Quarles said. "This year alone, I've lost 135 pounds, and I now can actually fit in a racing wheel chair so I'm giving that a try this year."
On his eighth deployment, Quarles was shot in the head, broke his neck and was involved in an explosion. On July 21, 2012, his helmet kept the bullet from penetrating his skull from a sniper's bullet. He thought he was just shook up and took injections in his neck and asked to stay in country because he still had Soldiers on the ground he didn't want to leave. His condition worsened.
He recovered at the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia where he underwent multiple surgeries on his spine. It was there that he was introduced to adaptive sports and took to cycling and archery and has continued to try others. Much like other Soldier athletes, Quarles says adaptive sports saved his life.
"These games give people with internal, external, severe and mild injuries that purpose, that mission again and the chance to be able to get out there and be part of a team again." Quarles has enjoyed getting to know potential teammates at the Adaptive Reconditioning Camp at Fort Bragg, North Carolina this week, sharing stories and hearing about their resiliency and ability to bounce back after their injuries. He's also watched the participants carefully and says these athletes have serious game.
"I can tell you, if you were a tri-athlete at 100% healthy, get on the field with one of us that has the determination coming from an injury and we'll give you a run for your money."