Shaquem Griffin discusses his journey to the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks
Shaquem Griffin's story is an inspiring one
The Seattle Seahawks line backer was born with a condition known amniotic band syndrome affecting his left hand. The condition occurs when faetal parts are fibrous trapped in amniotic bands while in utero.
At the age of four his mother is said to have walked into the family's kitchen to find Shaquem attempting to self-amputate his fingers due to the extent of the pain. The next day he underwent surgery to have his hand amputated.
JOE sat down with the 23-year-old Florida native during the Seahawks' recent trip to London for the NFL London Games, and spoke to him about his journey which has taken him to heights few athletes ever reach.
"Teachers used to ask me 'what you want to be when you grow up?' I always said I want to be a guy who made it to the league. People always said 'ah nah, you can't make it to the league', so I made sure my main focus was pushing myself every day," said Griffin.
"Even when I heard doubters I just kept pushing myself because I knew where I wanted to be."
Griffin also opened up on what he felt when the Seahawks organisation came knocking at his door to offer him the chance to play alongside his twin brother Shaquill, as well as working with Nike on the hugely popular JUST DO IT advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick.
"When they [the Seahawks] came knocking and offered me the opportunity to be a part of it - and knowing the guys that were a part of it - I was like 'how did I make it out here?'"
"For me I never looked at it as me having one hand and playing ball as a point of this is the reason why I'm a part of something. But for me to have the opportunity I just look at it like 'I'm just a ball player'.
"I got guys looking up to me, I got people looking up to me. For me to be a part of the Nike brand and the opportunity to be a part of that commercial is just... It was something that was unreal."