NFL Football Players with Disabilities

Having a disability does not define what a person can or cannot do which is evident by the numerous examples that professional athletes have set. There are many professional athletes that have persevered through mental and physical disabilities in order to reach the highest positions in their profession. An example of this is Shaquem Griffin who was an outside linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.

Griffin had his left hand amputated as a result of amniotic band syndrome and decided to continue his dream of playing football. Griffin was offered a scholarship to play at the University of Central Florida in which he was a critical part in bringing the program into the national spotlight. In Griffin’s final season at the University of Central Florida, he was the Atlantic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, an All American and 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player. He also helped University of Central Florida achieve an undefeated season in 2017 that led to a Peach Bowl victory against the University of Auburn.

Griffin was invited to the NFL combine in which he ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash which is the fastest time that a linebacker has ever ran at the NFL combine. Griffin was selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks who also drafted Shaquem’s brother the year before. This disability that Shaquem Griffin has had for his entire life, never deterred him from achieving his dreams and defying the odds. Griffin demonstrates that no disability is too big to overcome and that reaching the highest of positions in his profession was obtainable.

football player throwing a football in the stadium lightsA disability does not define you but rather overcoming difficult obstacles to the best of your abilities defines you as a person.

Sometimes a disability is not noticeable and an example of this is with NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall was having a difficult time adjusting to the NFL spotlight which is evident when he had multiple run-ins with law enforcement. Marshall in 2011 was later diagnosed with borderline personality disorder which explained his prior behaviors. With him understanding that he had a disability, he was able to seek treatment to help him live a better life.

Marshall with this disability was able to have an outstanding career which included him catching 970 passes for 12,351 yards and 83 touchdowns. He was also voted to 6 pro bowls which means that he was one of the best players in the NFL that year during his 13-year NFL career. In 2012, Marshall was given the honor of First Team All-Pro which means he was the best player at his position during that season. This demonstrates that he was able to understand his disability and obtain the help he needed in order to succeed at a high level.

Marshall did not allow this disability to control his life rather he found ways to succeed and show other people that a disability does not define who you are as a person. He not only helped himself but has also decided to help other people by starting Profit 365 which is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness for mental health awareness. He started this organization to end the bad stigma around mental health and wanted to help those in need.

Marshall had a disability and remained one of the best players in the NFL and then decided to use his platform to help those that are similar to him. Both of these football players have shown that a disability does not define you but rather overcoming difficult obstacles to the best of your abilities defines you as a person.

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