Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin has become an inspiration to people all over the world with all he has overcome, and many fans are curious to know the details on how Griffin ended up with one hand. Griffin has been without his left hand since he was four years old, after having surgery to remove it.
Griffin was diagnosed with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a condition that caused the umbilical cord to wrap around his wrist in the womb which prevented his left hand from fully developing. The turning point came when Griffin’s mother, Tangie Griffin, found her four-year-old son in the kitchen with a knife in the middle of the night. The pain had become so bad that Griffin was prepared to cut off his hand thinking it would alleviate the pain. Tangie Griffin decided it was time for her son to have surgery in hopes it would help alleviate the pain.
“When I got into the kitchen, he had a knife in his hand,” Tangie told ESPN. “He was getting ready to cut the digits off.”
Shaquem Griffin Does Not Want to Be Labeled as Having a Disability
Griffin’s mother called the doctor to set up an appointment to have the surgery. Sports Illustrated detailed the decision.
The next morning, Tangie took Shaquem to the doctor’s office. He remembers dragging a red wagon through the office, and he remembers falling asleep. When he woke, the mass of tissue where his left hand should have been was gone. The next day, the twins went to day care. Tangie warned Shaquem to keep his bandage clean. No football, she told him. When she returned that afternoon, there was “blood all over his bandage. Everywhere,” she says. “And he was holding a football.” Says Shaquill, who is older by 60 seconds: “You could see this huge smile on his face.”
Griffin wants to be known for his play on the field, rather than just as a player who has one hand. The worst thing you can tell Griffin is he has a disability.
“I don’t like any words like that,” Griffin said on the Today Show per TampaBay.com. “You’ve got a disability or handicap, that means you’re limited to certain things. I’m not limited to nothing. I can do anything anybody else can do.”
Griffin has done did just that in the pre-draft process. After being one of UCF’s key defenders during their 2017 undefeated season, Griffin still was being overlooked by NFL front offices. Griffin took over the NFL Combine running a 4.38 second 40 yard dash, the fastest ever recorded for a linebacker. Griffin also benched 225 pounds 20 times and had a 117″ broad jump. Griffin uses a prosthetic to help him grip weights with his left hand.
The Seahawks paired Griffin with his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, reuniting the brothers who played together at UCF. The Griffin brothers are both expected to start on the Seahawks defense in their Week 1 matchup against the Broncos.
“You got a lot of dreams, but sometimes it don’t play out how you think it is,” Griffin told Pro Football Talk. “We always thought about, we’re just going to play in the league, but it’s always going to be against each other. We didn’t think that far because we both play defense, so we didn’t know how that was going to work. To be beside each other again, it’s amazing.”