Today’s professional football world has never seen a player like Shaquem Griffin .
In 2016, he won the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year awarding, with 92 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and an interception.( For you non-football folks, that’s really good .)
In March 2018, he clocked the most wonderful 40-yard dash time for a linebacker in the NFL Scouting Combine since 2003.
And in April 2018, he lived out every aspire football player’s dream of playing in the NFL when he was drafted as a defensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks.
The big kicker? He’s achieved all of that one-handed. Literally .
Griffin’s left hand was amputated when he was 4 years old .
He was born with a condition called amniotic band disorder, a rare ailment that occurs in the womb, causing the amniotic sac to entangle with extremities. Before the amputation, the tissue in Griffin’s left finger was soft, “like a glove filled with jelly, ” according to ESPN.
It was also painful. “Everything I touched burned, ” Griffin told the network.
His mother, Tangie, remembered her son attempting to cut off his thumbs one night to relieve the pain. She called the next day to schedule the surgery.
Shaquem will join his twin friend, Shaquill, on the Seahawks roster. Shaquill, who is one minute older than Shaquem, was drafted last year by the Seattle team.
Missing a hand will no doubt created challenges in his life, but Griffin has never let it hold him back .
Shaquem Griffin had to work hard to get to where he is today — professional football requires intense dedication, and is definitely not for the swoon of heart. His indomitable will is nothing short of infectious.
“Never let anyone say to you what you can’t do, ” he told College Gameday in 2016. “If somebody says you can’t walk, prove them incorrect. Someone tells you can’t play football, demonstrate them wrong.”
The odds have always been against Shaquem Griffin…
He wasn’t supposed to play in college, but he proved himself.
He wasn’t supposed to be drafted, but he proved himself.
Now, with the Seahawks, he’s ready to do what he does best: demonstrate himself. pic.twitter.com/ 3U8tT2tOUg
— CBS Athletics (@ CBSSports) April 28, 2018
Griffin’s success in football offers representation to children with disabilities.
Heroes that we feel a connection with are important. They inspire us, they give us something to shoot for, and they remind us that we are capable of great things.
Kids with disabilities don’t often insure themselves reflected in the highest ranks — especially in mainstream professional athletics . To assure a man with one hand playing on an NFL team opens up a world of possibilities for those who have been told, either directly or indirectly, that they are not physically built for certain things.
Take, for example, this young cheerleader, who was born with the same condition as Shaquem Griffin and who is one of his biggest fans 😛 TAGEND
Griffin credits his family for helping him develop his strength and attitude. In an open letter to the general managers in the NFL, Griffin wrote about a coach-and-four from his childhood who told him he shouldn’t play football. Griffin said it was his family who pushed him to never give up.
“I’m blessed to have thick skin. But I’m even more blessed to have a family that never let me make excuses and who raised me to never listen to anybody who told me I couldn’t do something — especially because of my hand.”
Here’s to Shaquem Griffen single-handedly changing the face of the NFL.
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com