5 People Whose Major Disabilities Only Made Them Stronger

#2. Shaquem Griffin, the One-Handed College Football Player

Big County Preps

Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin are twins, and they're pretty much the same in every way: They each play college football at the University of Central Florida, they're each awesome at it, and they're each on a scholarship. There's only one small detail ... between the two, they only have three hands.

Peter Yang/ESPN
And one ball.

Shaquem had to have his left hand amputated when he was 4, but that didn't stop him from deciding he wanted to play some motherfucking football, and play it well. Recently, he accepted the Division 1 scholarship from UCF over 21 other college offers. Bear in mind that this is football we're talking about here -- they don't care if you have one hand, five legs, or half a torso, if you suck at the game you get destroyed anyway. Which is fine with Shaquem, because even with just one hand, he can make miraculous catches like this one.

Of course, being good at football isn't just about training on the field, but also about maintaining the necessary physique to withstand tackles, pile-ons, and that thing where the goalie throws the basketball at you and yells "safe" (or is that soccer?). As you can imagine, lifting weights and such can be a little tricky with only five digits, but Shaquem's dad came up with a series of simple but ingenious devices to help his son not end up with one really muscular arm and one really thin one -- like this belt and chain he uses to lift small weights:

Tampa Bay Times
He uses it as nunchaku in emergencies.

Or this block he uses for benching, which has a wooden protuberance on one side so it doesn't slide off and decapitate him:

Tampa Bay Times
Although, knowing the guy, he'd probably just find some way to play without a head.

As a result, he's made kicking everyone else's ass on the field seem so effortless that when UCF defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan decided to screen Shaquem's play tapes to the other coaches without letting them in on his missing hand, they thought he was full of shit when he told them.

#1. Miles Hilton-Barber Breaks Aviation Records While Blind

Ian Waldie/Getty Images News/Getty Images

This is Miles Hilton-Barber. He's completely blind.

Bangarang Productions
He maintains his perfect hair through sheer force of will.

Do you feel sorry for him? If so, cut that shit out right this second, because, since losing his sight by way of genetic illness in his 30s, that man has done more awesome things than most of us in 20 lifetimes. Like climbing mountains, running across entire deserts, cage-diving with goddamn great white sharks ... oh, and setting tons of records for aviation. Here's the same "poor blind man" from the picture above, walking on top of the wings of a Boeing Stearman biplane:

Speaker Channel
Well, it's easy for him. He doesn't have to look down.

But Hilton-Barber likes sitting inside the planes, too, more specifically, in the pilot's seat. In fact, at age 62 he became the first blind pilot to fly a microlight plane from London to Sydney, which, if you're not big on geography, is roughly a fucktillion miles. How does a blind man pilot a plane and not crash within the first five seconds? With the help of his nerves of steel, and also science.

Although he was accompanied by a non-blind co-pilot in case of emergency, Hilton-Barber relied mainly on a newly developed system that relays navigational information through speech -- as he explains in this video, he carried a little box of switchers connected to a pair of earphones that let him constantly check on his altitude, speed, distance to destination, and everything else he needed to know to safely fly an airplane halfway across the world without using his eyes. Still, watch this clip of his plane taking off while imagining you're the guy sitting behind, and try not to shit yourself:

On top of that, Hilton-Barber is also an accomplished racer (here's a video of him drag racing with help from a terrified co-pilot), but perhaps the thing he's best at is being a motivational speaker. If a blind man who has flown from England to Australia tells you that you can do anything you set your mind to, you fucking believe him.


Related Reading: These aren't the only folks to exchange their disability for superpowers: three of our best WW2 pilots had no legs. And Sylvester Stallone owes his iconic face to a botched childbirth. You know what CAN screw you for life, though? Being born left handed.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

308 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!