I’ve been wanting to write a post about an inspirational person. This past weekend, I saw Shaquem Griffen and his twin brothe Shaquill on TV during the NFL draft and realized I had my post.
Shaquem Griffen was born with a pre-birth condition known as Amniotic Band Syndrome, which occurs when a limb in the fetus becomes entrapped in amniotic bands while still in the womb. In Griffin’s case, a band wrapped around his left hand had cut off circulation. Pain wracked his hand during his first few years of life, and one day his mother found him in the kitchen trying to cut off his hand with a knife. The next day his family took him for surgery to amputate that hand.
Shaquem said he had to work harder than everyone else to prove he was just as capable. He and his twin brother Shaquill played football growing up, and both earned scholarships to the University of Central Florida. However, during their first years of college, Shaquill played on the UCF football team while Shaquem got redshirted for the first year, playing second string, and then getting bumped down to third string. Then in the third season, his luck changed. The coach brought him back to play for the team.
And play he did. For the next two seasons the team was the undefeated, national champions. In 2016, Shaquem was named the American Athletic Conference Defense Player of the Year.
Now Shaquem has been drafted to play with the Seattle Seakhawks, reuniting him with Shaquill, who was drafted by Seattle last year.
Shaquem has a message he wishes to impart based on his life experience:
I’ve had people doubt me my whole life, and I know that there are a lot of kids out there with various deformities or birth defects or whatever labels people want to put on them, and they’re going to be doubted, too. And I’m convinced that God has put me on this earth for a reason, and that reason is to show people that it doesn’t matter what anybody else says, because people are going to doubt you regardless. That’s a fact of life for everybody, but especially for those with birth defects or other so-called disabilities.
The important thing is that you don’t doubt yourself.
In addition, Shaquem’s father taught him never to quit with a motto he always keeps in mind: “Nothing comes easy.”