Just Don’t Quit Foundation Encourages Unity in Sports Community

(Photo Courtesy of Randall Harrington)

(Photo Courtesy of Randall Harrington)

By Spencer Eastwood

(Photo Courtesy of Randall Harrington)
(Photo Courtesy of Randall Harrington)

 

Jeff Griffin is not a name even the most avid sports fan will recognize. But his accomplishments are nonetheless impressive.

Griffin, a player for the Wheelchair NBA and the Utah Wheelin’ Jazz, competed on the United States paralympic basketball team in Greece during the 2004 summer games. He has eight Wheelchair NBA All Star appearances, four Wheelin’ NBA All Star MVPs, one Wheelin’ NBA title and one marathon title. He also holds the Guinness World Record for most free throws from a sitting position.

It wasn’t always that way. Almost 20 years ago, Griffin ruptured part of his spine and broke his back in three places. He had fallen 40 feet while working on his barn at home. He has not been able to walk since. After the accident, doctors told Griffin he wouldn’t walk again.

“I don’t believe them,” Griffin said. “My message to the world is never give up. Just don’t quit … everybody is good enough to accomplish their dreams and goals.”

Griffin has given his support to a documentary and audio book project titled “Doin’ Hard Work,” which has received national media coverage in the sports world. Former Utah Jazz head coach Frank Layden, narrator of the “Doin’ Hard Word” audio book, compared Griffin to former Jazz player Karl Malone.

“He’s a guy who has great competitive genes,” Layden said. “He wants to win, he wants to compete and he’s willing to work to do those things.”

The book is the first part of a promotional campaign to inspire unity between the mainstream and wheelchair sports communities. Proceeds from “Doin’ Hard Work” benefit the Just Don’t Quit Foundation’s Adaptive Sports Program. The organization’s mission is to provide equipment, uniforms, sports camps and more for wheelchair athletes.

“More people in America need to know about it and we can learn a lot from it,” Layden said. “Sports are for anyone. Men, women … doesn’t matter, you just compete to the best of your abilities.”

[email protected]

@spenceast