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Missouri Valley / Iowa

Juarez Finds Love for Tennis After Spinal Cord Injury

Andrea Gallagher | August 19, 2021

Robert Juarez of Davenport has been playing adaptive sports since 2008, after he was injured on the job as a firefighter and suffered a spinal cord injury. Before the accident, he was a firefighter for 19 years, and prior to that he was a U.S. Naval Reservist.



“The most rewarding thing about being a firefighter was helping others and building a strong bond with co-workers,” he said. “In addition, every response call was different and a challenge, which made our job exciting each day we were on shift.”



Though he can no longer fight fires, he’s now able to help people in another way. In 2011, Juarez and three other athletes created the QCA Adaptive Sports Association. Some of the programs include wheelchair basketball, tennis and adaptive rowing. They have also played wheelchair softball and taken part in 5k and 10k runs. However, wheelchair tennis is his favorite. 



“A friend who is also in a wheelchair started attending training sessions and became a certified instructor,” Juarez explained. “We then collaborated with the local tennis program and began our program. I enjoy meeting new athletes and traveling to different wheelchair tennis tournaments and competing.” 




When 57-year old Juarez isn’t working part-time as a loss prevention officer, he enjoys staying active and helping others do the same, whether it’s acquiring new adaptive sports equipment or helping to secure grants for those who need assistance. 



For more information on the QCA Adaptive Sports Association, go to





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