“Nothing comes easy, that’s what my dad always said to me and my brother…” Shaquem Griffin said in his 2019 acceptance speech at the NFL Honors. Griffin was awarded the 2019 NFL Game Changer award for a very unique reason. While his rookie season was a good one, and his on field production was solid, that was only part of the reason he received recognition. The Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker was given such a prestigious honor because of his perseverance due to a rare disorder that he was born with, which led to  his left hand being amputated.

Shaquem, 23, was born with amniotic band syndrome, and due to complications, he was forced to have his hand amputated at only four-years-old. Shaquem learned to adapt and perform regular daily things despite having only one hand. He never made excuses , and his support system wouldn’t allow him to.

“Growing up as a child, being told what I couldn’t do, it can weigh heavy on your heart. But I had family, I had my brothers, I had those around me to keep my head straight, to keep my hopes high, and now I can say I’m blessed and I’m honored to be here in front of you.”