One-Handed Linebacker Rushes His Way Into History!
Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin ran right into the history books at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis with a time of 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time for a linebacker in more than a decade. His running, jumping and catching were impressive to NFL scouts all around the country–but he did all of this with only one hand.
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Griffin had his left hand amputated at age 4 because of amniotic band syndrome, a congenital condition.
As a small child Shaquem lived with “constant, scorching pain every time his jelly-like fingers and hand touched anything.” One night before the amputation, his mother came into the kitchen to find little Shaquem crying from the pain and trying to cut off his left fingers.
But 18 years later, Griffin wowed scouts, coaches, and viewers alike, proving to them that he didn’t need two hands to be an NFL caliber player. He blew away expectations on the bench press and impressed every team official and member of the press he met.
Amniotic Band Syndrome is a group of congenital birth defects believed to be caused by entrapment of fetal parts (usually a limb or digits) in fibrous amniotic bands while in utero. In other words, before the baby was born the body parts that shows signs of ABS (arm, fingers, toes, etc.,) were caught up and entangled in string-like bands. This caused abnormalities that were present at birth.
With ABS, no two cases are exactly alike. But, there are several features that are relatively consistent:
– syndactyly (webbed fingers or feet)
– deformity of the nails
– stunted growth of the small bones in the digits
– limb length discrepancy
– distal lymphedema (swelling)
– congenital band indentations.
– cleft palate.
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In a large number of cases the baby is also born with clubfeet.
ABS is also the cause of numerous miscarriages, such as when a band becomes wrapped around the umbilical cord.
Griffin, who would be the first player with one hand drafted in the modern era if selected in April, also made headlines for bench pressing 20 repetitions of 225 pounds, using a prosthetic on his left arm to attach to the bar.
He was also one of seven athletes from the combine selected to be a part of a limited-edition trading card series by Panini America.
Griffin’s impressive performance clocking a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash and completing a personal-best 20 reps in the bench press are commemorated on three card variations available in green and red. The black card is already sold out.
Griffin is the only athlete included in the trading card series that is not a first-round NFL Draft projection but…