Don’t tell me what I can’t do: The Amazing Story of Shaquem Griffin

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Zeke Coronel

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Stagecoach 2018
May 22, 2018
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Don’t tell me what I can’t do: The Amazing Story of Shaquem Griffin

The story of Shaquem Griffin is truly inspiring. There are many factors that influenced what he has accomplished in his life. The most obvious is that he is missing his left hand. On  July 20th, 1995 he was born to Tangie and Terry Griffin. There was a problem though; the doctors found out that he was born with amniotic band syndrome. This is a condition that affects the development of limbs. At age 4 due to the extreme pain he faced, Shaquem tried to grab a butcher knife to cut off his deformed hand. Although he did not succeed, this desperate act compelled his parents to seek more aggressive treatment for their son. The course of action was to amputate his hand. Shaquem did not let that stop him from playing sports. His brother, Shaquill, was one of the people that he trusted, and Shaquill always believed in Shaquem. Shaquill’s belief in him helped Shaquem endure the inevitable taunts and others’ doubts about his athletic abilities. His whole life people doubted him.

Both Griffin brothers were standout athletes in high school, and both were offered scholarships to play at UCF. Shaquem redshirted his freshman year. Although he only saw the field 3 times the first two years he played, he had a very prosperous career in college. He finally got his chance and totaled 17 sacks and 30 tackles for loss as a linebacker. Shaquem received many awards including the ESPN all bowl team in 2017, AAC defensive player of the year, and 2nd team all American in 2017. Even with an outstanding performance at the college level, Shaquem came to the 2018 draft with many people questioning how he would perform.

Shaquem knew how to prove himself; he shocked the NFL when on the bench he completed 20 reps at 225 lb. Many of the scouts expected him to only be able to do 6-8 reps. An even more astounding accomplishment was his 4.38 second 40 yard dash, the fastest time by a linebacker since the NFL began using laser time. To put this in perspective the fastest League 40 yard dash time this year was 4.32. The fact that he was able to perform the way he did turned many scouts’ and coaches’ heads. His brother entered the draft last year and went to the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquem is expected to go in the first round of this year’s draft. The League and its players are ecstatic for Shaquem’s success. He has earned recognition from some of the best such as JJ Watt and Von Miller.

One of Shaquem’s mottos is “don’t tell me what I can’t do, rather let me show you what I can do”. This speaks to his whole demeanor and type of person he is. Shaquem is an inspiration to not only other athletes but to people who have similar conditions or disabilities. He is living proof that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. His whole life Shaquem was told ‘no’ and was doubted. Instead of listening to people and giving up he did the opposite and used all the talk to motivate him. Fans of this amazing athlete are excited to see him play in the NFL next year!

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