The Vista Voice

One-Handed Linebacker Inspires at Combine

Hudson Meyer, Staff writer/copy editor

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Shaquem Griffin has been doubted all his life and has always been looked over due to his disability. However, on March 4, 2018, Griffin’s football career took a turn in the right direction thanks to his incredible performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

When he was first born, Griffin was diagnosed with a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, which occurs when a fetus is tangled up in fibers inside the womb. This syndrome causes restricted blood flow to the fetus and developmental issues. After birth, it can lead to intense pain and eventual amputation.

From the time he was born, Griffin experienced terrible pain due to his condition. The pain in his left hand required him to have it amputated at the age of 4, giving him a disability at a young age.

Despite this disability, Griffin has always been an athlete. He has participated in track and field, baseball, and football since he was 5, with his real passion being football. People told him that he could never succeed in football because of his disability, however, Griffin never listened to what others had to say.

Griffin was lucky enough to get an invite to the NFL Combine this past spring. It was here where his career took off. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash by a linebacker ever, running a 4.38. He also put up 20 reps at 225 pounds for the bench press–a feat that would be impressive normally but is incredible for only having one hand. Griffin’s draft stock shot up following his fantastic combine performance.

Many schools recruited Griffin for football, and he ended up committing to the University of Central Florida. He turned down the offers for the opportunity to play with his twin brother, Shaquill, who was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks as the 90th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Playing a sport with any disability is difficult. Consider a soccer player who suffers from severe asthma. “Playing soccer with asthma is difficult, but you get used to it once you do it for years. Griffin has struggled with his disability his whole life, but now he has reached a point where he doesn’t even worry about it,” said Connor Hamilton.

Griffin’s story is an inspirational tale of how disabilities do not define capabilities. “I play because I believe it’s my purpose. I know that it won’t come easy. Nothing comes easy. But I will fulfill that purpose.”

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One-Handed Linebacker Inspires at Combine