Feb. 4, 2016
One crushing play.
One crushing play on a tackle against Air Force on Sept. 9, 2006, nearly ended his life. Inquoris “Inky” Johnson lied motionless on the Neyland Stadium turf and was later carted off to emergency surgery. It suffered irreparable nerve damage and a broken artery in his chest.
The surgery saved his life, but it left him with a paralyzed right arm and daily pain.
For the Atlanta native, this life-threatening setback has resulted in a life-changing comeback.
Inky Johnson is now a motivational speaker and travels the country near and far to speak with student-athletes about his life and how to have a new attitude.
After a 6 a.m. speaking event Monday at East Carolina University, Johnson traveled the seven hours west to speak to Georgia Tech student-athletes Monday night at the O’Keefe Gym.
In front of 400 student-athletes and GT staff, Johnson gave an impassioned and intense 25-minute talk. The student-athletes were hanging onto every word.
Johnson’s message was simple: “take a step back, look at what you have, and don’t wait for something (like my life-changing event) to realize how good you have it.”
His message resonated with Tech’s student-athletes and coaches. One student-athlete said that hearing Inky’s story “couldn’t have come at a better time in my life…It really hit home (for me) and made me think.”
Johnson’s message ended with this: “When your words and your actions merge together, that’s when you become a good leader.” This thought is one of the pillars of Georgia Tech’s Total Person Program, which was created by Dr. Homer Rice, former Tech Athletic Director.
His football career may have ended in 2006, but Inky’s life did not. He fulfilled his promise to his grandmother by graduating from Tennessee with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He now devotes much of his time to mentoring athletes and underprivileged youth.