The morning of Sept. 9, 2006, Inky Johnson was a sure-fire first round NFL draft pick playing safety for the University of Tennessee. By the time that same day was coming to a close, he had stepped on the football field as a player for the last time, and he was fighting for his life.
During Tennessee’s matchup against Air Force, Johnson made a seemingly routine tackle that changed his path forever. The collision caused nerve damage in his right shoulder and seriously damaged his blood vessels.
But while his football career was over — along with his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL — Inky didn’t quit on life.
“You know why people quit? People don’t have pride in what they do,” he says now. “You know why people stop? They’re selfish and it’s just about them. But when you have a bigger purpose to why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you want to honor the sacrifices that others have made for you, it’s nothing to keep going when you hit adversity. If every decision and choice that you make is just about you, at a certain point you’re going to hit something that’ s a lot tougher than you and it’s going to make you quit, because you don’t have a driving force for why you do what you do.”
Inky’s driving force today is inspiring everyone with whom he comes in contact, and on nights like this past weekend in Montgomery, it’s all about leading young people to have a relationship Jesus.
Inky was the keynote speaker at First Baptist Church of Montgomery’s “Team Night.”
“Bring your team and wear your jersey or favorite school colors for this free, back-to-school event featuring a powerful testimony by Inky Johnson,” the church said in promotion of the event.
Multiple high school teams participated in the event, each showing up wearing their colors.
Christian Smitherman, a Montgomery-based video producer, captured what happened next.
“God told me to take my camera,” said Smitherman. “I didn’t know why, but now I do”
At the conclusion of Inky’s testimony, players from every school flocked to the front of the sanctuary to respond — so many, in fact, that the entire front of the large auditorium was completely full. It was the culmination of what one of the event’s organizers said was three years of prayer.
“All the glory to God,” Inky said after the service. “I’m just honored to play a small part in something so great. Because you know it had nothing to do with me. It was all God. I’m just honored to be here to witness it.”
For a glimpse of what happened in Montgomery, check out #Grow334’s video above.
And for a taste of Inky’s incredible ability as a motivational speaker, check out the video below.