Shaquem Griffin made history as the NFL’s first-ever one-handed player. Now he inspires others to overcome adversity and persevere.
Nobody was ever going to tell me that I didn’t belong on a football field. And nobody was ever going to tell me that I couldn’t be great. Shaquem Griffin
Shaquem Griffin was born just minutes after his twin, Shaquill. Both boys went on to become remarkable athletes in high school and college at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and both play in the NFL after being drafted by the same team—but Shaquem did it all with just one hand.
At birth, Shaquem experienced a rare condition called amniotic band syndrome and his hand ultimately had to be amputated when he was four years old. His family refused to treat him any differently than his brother, and from the time he could say the words, his motto has been, “please don’t tell me what I can’t do.”
Shaquem’s collegiate accomplishments include first-team All-American Athletic Conference linebacker, AAC Defensive Player of the Year, National Champion and Peach Bowl MVP. After a historic performance at the NFL Combine, he was selected as a linebacker by Seattle, playing for the Seahawks from 2018 – 2020. His most memorable on-the-field highlight was sacking current NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers during the playoffs in 2020. He signed with the Miami Dolphins for the 2021 season and retired from the NFL in 2022.
Shaquem’s story is captured in the Emmy award-winning short film NFL 360: I am Shaquem Griffin and in the biography Inseparable: How Family and Sacrifice Forged a Path to the NFL.
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His speech was very inspiring and one that I think athletes and any college student could benefit from.Texas A&M University - Texarkana
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