22-year-old Shaquem Alphonso Griffin is making huge strides in the football world. The amputee was picked as a national football league (NFL) fifth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks on April 28, 2018. Clearly elated, he described it as a “dream.”
His brother, Shaquill also plays for the Seahawks as a cornerback.
Griffin began his sports career as a linebacker while attending Lakewood High School. He subsequently earned a football scholarship to the University of Central Florida. While in college, Griffin experienced a series of highs and lows, including being cut to a second string player then demoted to a third string and scout team player.
On the upside, Griffin earned the title of the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and the 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive MVP.
He credits Scott Frost being hired as the 2016-2017 coach as the catalyst to re-dedicating himself to his craft.
Griffin recalls as an adolescent being deliberately sabotaged by a former coach, using the guise of his weight as an excuse for not being able to play, it was actually because of his deformity.
Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome – a painful condition which prevented the fingers on his left hand from fully developing. After an attempt to self-amputate his hand at the age of four, his mother scheduled for an amputation to be performed the next day.
After losing his hand, Griffin went on to play competitively in baseball, football and track.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider said, “One of the most interesting things about this guy as a football player, is that he makes his plays at critical moments in the game,” “You can see it when you’re watching film, and then when the analytics guys throw their numbers at you, you go wow.”