Turning Pain to Fame!

Written by on March 4, 2019

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 4, 2019, #733 Up Next… Turning Pain to Fame!After further review… When Tangie and Terry Griffin found out that she was pregnant with twin boys, they were excited. Tangie is a medical data (nurse) analyst, while Terry works as a truck operator. However, their exuberance was short-lived when they were told the ultrasound revealed a fibrous strand of the amniotic membrane had wrapped around one of the two babies left wrists. If left alone, it would keep his left hand from developing. The doctors said they could try to remove that band, but in doing so it might wrap around the neck of the twins.

The Griffins, with all the advice they could gather, decided not to try the operation. But then discussed “How do we deal with a son with a deformed left hand or no hand at all.” Indeed, during pregnancy, these are ominous decisions for parents. They decided to treat him no differently than any of their other children and “never let him consider that condition to be a hindrance.” On July 20, 1995 Shaquill Griffin was born followed 120 seconds later by his twin, Shaquem Griffin, their son with the amniotic band syndrome. That disorder affected his left finger/hand causing severe pain wherever it was touched.

The pain became so unbearable for young Shaquem that he attempted to cut off his hand with a kitchen knife only to be saved by his attentive mother. Surgical amputation, at the tender age of four, was the only answer. Even so as a youth, Shaquem was a determined and talented young athlete playing football alongside his twin brother, Shaquill. Shaquem excelled in baseball, track and football at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. Both boys had great high school stats and were offered football scholarships at University of Central Florida.

As a redshirt UCF freshman Shaquem fell below standards. However, Coach Scott Frost opened the door for Shaquem who, in his junior year, was the Atlantic Athletic Conference defensive player of the year as well as AAC All-Conference first-team in 2017. While his brother, Shaquill a year ahead, was drafted 90th by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2017 NFL draft, Shaquem spent his senior year at UCF. He was then drafted 141st by the Seahawks in 2018 signing a $2.8 million four-year contract. Both spent the 2018 NFL season as Seahawks linebackers.

Shaquem is now spending his off-season in hospitals and care centers helping youngsters who have disabilities believe in their futures.
Will you believe you can turn your disabilities or setbacks into positives?

To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.


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