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Local Man Headed to Paralympics

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Updated: 7/27/2012 7:09 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Meet 56 year old Jerry Shields. He's gearing up to compete in this year's paralympic games. And like any other athlete he practices a lot.. Five hours a day, six days a week in fact. But there's something you should know about this Jacksonville archer. He fires the arrow with his teeth.

Fifteen years ago Jerry had a stroke. "They said I was going to die," he says. 40% of his brain went dead and the entire right side of his body was paralyzed. He was forced to learn how to walk and talk again. But he took his so called 'limitations' to the next level ten years ago, when someone challenged his ability. "A lady told me I can't do it... So I showed her," he says.

Jerry never had an interest in archery until that day. He picked up a bow and began to practice. Since then, he's a three time state champion, five time national champion, and is now on his way to the paralympics.

Jerry's long time coach and mentor, Jim Jones says, "I'm tremendously proud of him. When I heard he finally made it, it was hugs all around we were jumping up and down because he's worked so hard at it."

Jones says he's truly an inspiration to everyone. "All those things he overcame and it's just because of his determination and his will to do things makes him better than the average guy."

As for Jerry, he has one thing to say to that woman who said he can't. "That lady did me a favor."

Jerry certainly earned his spot on this year's Paralympic archery team. He will be heading out to London in mid-August.

Click here to see Jerry Shields Facebook Page and track his progress in the Paralympics.
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