22-year-old Shaquem Griffin became the first one-handed player in the history of the NFL to be drafted by a team.
The Seattle Seahawks drafted the UCF graduate, snagging him as the 141st overall pick this year. Furthermore, Shaquem is set to join his twin brother Shaquill Griffin, who plays as cornerback for the same side!
Here is the moment the Seahawks convey the message to the 22-year-old!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 28, 2018
Shaquem’s story is inspirational and one of perseverance.
The Florida man was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome – a condition in which the unborn baby becomes entangled in fibrous string-like amniotic bands in the womb. In Shaquem’s case, the condition affected his left hand, resulting in his fingers not to fully develop. His left hand had to be amputated at age four.
Despite the disadvantage, Shaquem was a phenomenon for UCF Knights, University of Central Florida’s football side. He was a crucial part of the championship winning side in 2018. He was named the 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive MVP and was the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
But two exceptional seasons with the Knights did not result in a call-up for the NFL Combine. The Combine is the league’s annual scouting event where young college players from around the country attempt to catch the eye of professional coaches. The youngsters attempt a series of drills, e.g. vertical jump, 40-year dash and more, as coaches from all the NFL sides narrow down the players they need for the upcoming season.
However, his performance at the Senior Bowl, the all-star game at the end of the season featuring the best players at college level, earned him a spot at the scouting event. And Shaquem made the most of the opportunity. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash by any player in his position ever – 4.38 seconds. He also bench pressed an incredible 102kg 20 times with a customised prosthetic arm!
Shaquem Griffin put up 20 reps on bench press at the @NFL combine. It may be important to note that he only has one hand. Just to get some perspective, Oklahoma offense lineman, Orlando Brown got only 14 reps (with two hands). #combine2018 pic.twitter.com/MPIdFIfBwm
— EM- SportScience (@EMsportscience) March 4, 2018
“I couldn’t breathe,” Griffin said after learning about his fate to ESPN. “I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn’t talk.”
“This is not the end of my road … it’s only just the beginning,” Shaquem said. “And I’m going to keep proving people wrong because I have a lot of people to prove wrong — a lot of doubters.”
At every stage of his life, Shaquem Griffin has beaten the odds and emerged victorious. Now it remains to be seen what happens when he takes the field for the Seahawk in the upcoming. By what we have witnessed so far, you would not want to back against this determined individual!