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A tale of injury, new beginnings and overcoming hardship faced Northwest students and families with emotion that filled the auditorium with silence.

World-renowned motivational speaker Inky Johnson brought the Northwest community together to inspire and share his story at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 in Ron Houston Center for Performing Arts. He is also a husband, father, college athlete, entrepreneur and author who motivates people with his story of faith and perseverance.

He talked with power explaining his hardships and providing a different lens into his life-changing injury. Johnson was a senior cornerback at the University of Tennessee and on Sept. 6 his football career was taken from him. A tackle led him to emergency surgery for a ruptured subclavian artery. He woke up the next morning permanently paralyzed in the right arm.

“The hardest part of my injury wasn’t my injury if I could be honest with you, this was one of the toughest things I've been through in my life,” Johnson said. “The hardest part of my injury was showing up in an environment and watching people take for granted the thing that I once loved.”

The presentation began by explaining aspirations, dreams, and routines. He explained he starts his day with quote cards.

“Search for the seed of good in every adversity, master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guide you through some of the darkest times of your life,” Johnson said. 

Throughout his speech he goes into how people are stuck on their routines and their positive results so, when the result of opposition comes around people struggle with the change. 

Johnson explained that he would never change what happened to him. He was told he was a projected draft pick and would be for sure if he kept doing what he had been doing. He did just that but that day that routine didn’t give him his normal results. 

“Having doing something from 7 onto 20 years old and I go out to do it in the fourth quarter of a game with two minutes left.” Johnson said. “Two hours later I found myself in the emergency room fighting for my life and the next morning I wake up, my life was never the same again.”

Freshman Karsen Vanscoy learned not to take things for granted from the obstacles he faced.

“I feel like as athletes it’s easy to take going to college and getting a scholarship for granted because we all work hard but college is a different level,” Vanscoy said. 

Johnson’s perspective on his injury moved Vanscoy and goes on about how stuff like his injury can happen in a split second. 

“He took a really bad situation and made it positive, he obviously has something that was really challenging in his life and had a huge setback,” Vanscoy said. “Through God he created a whole new life for him and successful through speaking and motivating other people.”

Kintzli Wagner is a freshman who took away from Johnson’s living situation, his speech gave her a different perspective on dealing with hard situations. 

Living in a two-bedroom home with 14 people isn’t an ideal living situation, but Johnson loved it. The way he lived didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams or building his character.

“It made me realize how privileged I am and how grateful for everything I’ve been given,” Wagner said.

Johnson, a top-30 draft pick gave an inspirational speech about his future changing after his injury, but it didn’t stop him from success and having faith. He became a well-known motivational speaker, husband and father.

“Never take this thing called life for granted, never take the opportunity that you have been privileged to do for granted” Johnson said. “Life is a gift, sports is a gift, never be the person to show up and treat it like it’s nothing, life changes quick.”

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