We often make excuses for what we can or can’t do even though we are perfectly capable of reaching these goals. Not this football player.
Shaquem Griffin from the University of Central Florida has only one hand, but that hasn’t stopped him from achieving success on the football field. Griffin was the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference.
Griffin is one of the best linebackers in the country and leads his undefeated UCF Knights into one of the biggest games in school history in the Peach Bowl against Auburn University on January 1st.
Griffin’s left hand was amputated when he was only four years old due to amniotic band syndrome. Before his amputation, his hand would give him excruciating pain, even leading him to almost cut the limb off himself with a knife.
Shaquem has a twin brother, Shaquill, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill has all of his appendages, but that didn’t stop their parents from treating them exactly the same growing up.
Their father, Terry, taught them both how to catch and throw the ball. “He didn’t want me to make any excuses for why I couldn’t catch the ball,” said Shaquem. “I took a couple footballs to the face before I learned to catch.”
As a junior last year, Shaquem had 92 tackles and 11.5 sacks during his Defensive Player of the Year season. This year he has 62 tackles and 5.5 sacks with still one game to play.
After this season ends, he hopes to follow his brother into the NFL.
“A lot of people in our generation like to make excuses about little things that really don’t hinder them from doing what they want to,” he said. “It always comes down to the work ethic.”