Sgt. Gregory Quarles, a retired infantryman and Ringgold native overcame anxiety and depression to compete in the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. 

Injured in combat, Quarles shared the story of his injury and recovery.  

“The enemy drove a dump truck packed with 5,000 pounds of explosives and breached our perimeter wall. I was a few hundred feet away from the explosion, and it picked me up and threw me 10 feet, that’s how I sustained the lower back injury,” said Quarles. “I got up and got some people out that were trapped under objects. The sirens sounded in the area of the breach and we started heading toward that sound.” 

Quarles back injuries were what prohibited him from competing in the 2015 Warrior Games for which he qualified.  

“I knew I had to have my second spine surgery sooner or later. I just tried to put it off until after the games, but one morning I woke up and I couldn’t feel my legs.”  

After 15-day hospital stay and around 65 days of recovery he can finally compete in the Warrior Games. 

“Even though you do have injuries, there are things [sports] that you can do to still have that competitive edge,” 

Quarles finished by saying  “I would say to all the fellow Soldiers, ‘Whatever branch you are in, the sky is the limit.’ No matter what injury you have; from the mildest traumatic brain injury to a quad amputee, the door is open. You’ve got to be open minded and don’t just sit on your butt.” 

Quarles’ goal is to make it to the U. S. Paralympic games.