For most professional athletes the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of achievement, their ultimate goal.
And there is one archer who is quite literally chomping at the bit to get to London 2012.
Jeff Fabry, of Tulare, California, is one of the world’s best at his sport, a five-time Special Games world champion, and three-time Paralympics medallist.
But Fabry’s achievement is made all the more impressive by the fact that he has only one arm and one leg, having lost the two other limbs in a horrific motorcycle accident at the age of 15.
His life-changing injuries inspired him to learn how to fire arrows using his teeth, pulling them back by biting on a mouthpiece that he made from a nylon dog leash.
“My buddies were out hitting the hills hunting and I was stuck at home and I was like, no, I don’t like this, so I figured out a way to shoot and it happened to be with my teeth,” he told Fox News.
“It was trial and error to find what I considered to be the perfect mouthpiece, where I could be proficient.”
It’s the kind of thing that would give a dentist nightmares, but Fabry insisted: “I’ve been doing this for 13 years and my teeth still look and feel the same the first day I started. Everything is going good, luckily.”
Fabry will compete on the U.S Paralympics Team in London this summer but international success is not his only goal.
He teaches the sport he loves to members of the Wounded Warriors Project, the nonprofit whose mission is to help injured service members cope in civilian society.
“What I’m really proud of is being able to work with our vets who are coming back from the sandbox with different disabilities,” he said.
“I got hurt before I could join the military, and this is kind of a way that I can give back to my country by helping our heroes.”
Jim Castaneda is one veteran to have benefited from Fabry’s passion and skill. A member of the Wounded Warriors, Castaneda suffered a traumatic brain injury and a stroke while stationed in the Philippines with the Navy.
He told the news channel:’It’s changed my life completely … I found something that I can do and I really enjoy it and love something now.’
“I’m not just sitting there anymore, like watching my life go by and feeling sorry for myself. Now I’m actually getting up and doing something for myself and trying something else.”
Fabry is gearing up to coach Team Navy Coast Guard in archery at the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs.
Teams from the Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, Army and Air Force compete against each other in a U.S Department of Defence competition that is similar to the Olympics.
Arribution: Daily Mail