This special moment was caught on camera when NFL linebacker Shaquem Griffin met a young fan and they realized they had something in common…they both have limb differences. But, Griffin refused to let that stop him from pursuing his dreams and now he’s inspiring the next generation.
In the video that’s now going viral, the Seattle Seahawks linebacker returned to Florida, the state where played at the University of Central Florida before making history after being drafted for the Seahawks. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old after he was born with a rare condition known as amniotic band syndrome, which prevented his fingers from growing properly.
The pain was so intense that Griffin’s mother remember catching him with a knife ready to cut his hand off. That moment helped make the decision to have Griffin’s hand amputated, but that didn’t slow him down.
Griffin shocked NFL scouts laster year when he did 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press using a prosthetic left hand, and then ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, which the fastest time ever recorded for a linebacker at the NFL combine.
Griffin has been open about wanting to be an inspiration for kids with disabilities, so when he met little Joseph Tidd, it was a very special moment. He said, “I don’t even like hearing words like (handicapped)…Because if you got a disability or a handicap, that means you’re limited to certain things. And I don’t feel like I’m limited to nothing. I can do anything anybody else can do.”
Joseph has made headlines before, after being introduced to 34-year-old Amy Siesel who met through the Florida chapter of The Lucky Fin Project, an online support group for people with limb differences Amy said: “I felt compelled to share this video not only because it was a heartwarming moment for me but because I believe it begins a dialogue about both the beauty and challenges of those with upper limb differences… When people see a video like this, perceptions begin to change. I’m an entire generation apart from little Joseph. My hope is that he’ll grow up in a world that’s different from the one I grew up in because people will be more aware, more educated, more accepting, and loving.”
And with videos like this going viral, Amy and Griffin’s wishes for the next generation are coming true.
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