A one-handed defensive back out of Florida is making waves in the sports world this week after signing a scholarship to play football at the University of Central Florida.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Shaquem Griffen, a 17-year-old free safety at St. Petersburg Lakewood High School, was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, which occurs when the fetus is entangled with strands of amniotic bands that restrict blood flow. It can cause deformities.
Due to the constant pain Griffin suffered as a youngster, doctors were eventually forced to remove his left hand when he was just four years old.
Despite the odds against him, Griffin never allowed his disability to affect his love of sports. He instead worked hard to become one of his school’s finest athletes and on Wednesday signed to his letter of intent to play at UCF.
“Shaquem Griffin is one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard in football,” said USA Football director Garrett Shea. “For the young man to overcome such a physical challenge to play at this level speaks not only of who he is but his brother as well…. To see and hear how they interact with one another and act as such a support system, it’s just great for all of us to be around.”
Griffen, who signed with UCF along with his brother, CB Shaquille, played in the International Bowl on Tuesday night, which features some of the top high school students against other football players around the world.
During the game, Shaquem made a diving, one-handed interception which was featured in ESPN’s Top 10 plays countdown. Check out the spectacular catch below:
In addition to his on the field prowess, Shaquem Griffin also excelled in the classroom and finished high school with a 3.75 GPA.