Yesterday, history was made. The first one-handed player was drafted into the NFL. Shaquem Griffin was drafted in the fifth round (141st overall) by the Seattle Seahawks. He will join his twin brother Shaquill, who was drafted last year by the Seahawks. Shaquill is a special man in his own right. When he was leaving highschool and was recruited by tons of college teams across the USA, he told all the teams that he would only accept a scholarship offer if his brother Shaquem could go there as well. The only college to take the package deal was UCF. They made promises that they eventually would not keep. They took Shaquem(mostly just to lure in Shaquill), but kept him down and eventually sent him home. A new coaching staff allowed Shaquem to come back. He came back with a vengeance and went on to win the defensive player of the year award. His team went on to an undefeated season and Shaquem was a big part of that.
He has faced adversity his whole life. He was born with amniotic band syndrome, and had to suffer with pain in his hand every day. When he was 4, his mother found him in the kitchen with a knife trying to cut his own hand off. She took him to the hospital and they amputated his hand. His family never treated him any different than his twin brother. Their father taught them both how to play football at a very young age. When he was 8, an opposing football coach said football is a 2 handed sport and didn’t want to allow him to play.
Shaquill got drafted to the NFL and Shaquem and the brothers had to play/be apart for the first time in their lives. Shaquill put a bug in the ears of the coaches, scouts and management of the Seahawks to try and influence the team to draft his brother. Yesterday, his dream came true.
Shaquem is a feel good story, and it is so refreshing to find a well spoken young man, without the attitude and baggage that often comes along with pro athletes. He knows that his physical condition means he is a voice for others with missing limbs, and he is the perfect role model for thousands of others.
Jim Abbott, the one-handed former baseball pitcher is a big fan of Shaquem, and was thrilled when he got drafted.
I’ll leave you with a clip from a drummer that seems to be doing just fine with one hand.