Find Hope

Lost my right arm just before the NFL draft.

They said; “Son you can never play the game of football again.”

READ FULL STORY »

I was a defensive back for the University of Tennessee football team. I was a projected top thirty draft pick. All I had to do was play the next ten football games and my life was about to change. I will never forget. First game we come out of an interception. A couple of big hits, a couple of pass breakups. Everything went great. The second game we were playing against Air Force. The fourth quarter rolls around. And a guy was coming down my side. I looked at the quarterback. The quarterback was releasing the ball to the guy. I hit the guy and it seemed as if every breath in my body left. My body went completely numb. I fell to the ground and I blacked out. My eyes opened and my teammates ran over to me and said; “Ink get up! Let’s go!” I said; “I can’t.” I couldn’t move anything. I couldn’t feel anything. One of the scariest moments of my life. Shock eventually left the state of my right arm and hand. The whole while I was laying there, I was thinking; “Man this is nothing too serious. Maybe a stinger. Maybe a broken arm.” They put me on a spine board. They wheeled me off the field. Got me in the ambulance. Got me over to the hospital. Took me back and ran some CAT scans. Then took me back into my room. The final visit came at the Mayo Clinic, and they said; “Here’s the deal. Son, you have torn all of the nerves in your brachial plexus.” They said your brachial plexus is nerve roots that go from your spine that controls your arm and your hand. You have torn them at all levels. We hate to tell you, but your arm will never be the same again. Your hand will never be the same again. They said; “Son you can never play the game of football again.” Here are your surgery options; we can take a muscle out of the back of your leg and plug it into your right arm, but there is a possibility you will be left with a weak left leg and a weak right arm for the rest of your life. So, you can take the nerve out of your left arm reroute it up to your chest down to your right arm but there’s a possibility that you will be left with two weak arms for the rest of your life. Or, you can take the nerve out of your left rib, reroute it up to your chest down into your right arm but there’s a possibility that you will be left with a breathing problem and a weak right arm for the rest of your life. By the way, tell us which one to do in the morning. I will never forget that night. I went in the hallway and I had a talk with my Mom and my Dad. I went into my room. And I made peace with God about the situation. The next morning I went into the Doctor's office and He said; ”So, which option did you choose?” I said; “No disrespect to you guys, but I’m not choosing an option. My situation’s out of your hands.” They said; “What do you mean? We are some of the best doctors in the world. We’re the reason that you came up here.” I said; “No disrespect to you doctor but I’m not choosing an option. I know I’m going to come out of this okay.” You know I always say; “A faith that has not been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted.” Needless to say, when I came out of that surgery I think I came out okay. As a matter of fact, I came out ten times stronger but my life changed. I had been right-hand dominant my whole life. Now I can no longer use my right arm or my right hand. Now I had to go back to school and learn how to write all over again. Now I had to get help with taking a bath. Now I had to go up to people in public that didn’t know what happened to me and say; “hey would you help me tie my shoe?” God had protected me for twenty years. From Lord knows what. For twenty years and the one moment something doesn’t go the way that I want it to go. The one moment, something didn’t play out the way I wanted it to play out. The one moment that I didn’t like how something felt. That gave me the right to question God? No. It’s like when He told the apostle Paul when he prayed to Him three times about the thorn in his flesh. And He basically said; ”No. My grace is sufficient. My power is made perfect in weakness.” And I think His power is made perfect in my weakness.

You know, all of my friends are multi-millionaires. Multi. My roommates from college. I always tell my guys. I say; “yeah man. You guys got the NFL contract but I got the real contract. And it’s long and it’s rich.” So I’m just as happy a man. I’m not mad because I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. You know, and what this injury has meant to me is priceless. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. If I could go back to that moment right now, today, I wouldn’t change a thing. If they could say; “Inky we could put you on a stage. You could be the number one draft pick. Fifty million dollars guaranteed.” I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Because this has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s a lot bigger than me. This just isn’t about Inky Johnson. If I sign an NFL contract it’s about me. I made it. But this isn’t about Inky Johnson. This is about the souls and the lives that it’s touching. It’s about the people that are propelling through its tough patches and its adversity in life. This is a lot bigger than me. This is a tool that I can use for the rest of my life to be a blessing and be a witness for Christ. I got the real contract.

Inky Johnson - Lost my right arm just before the NFL draft.

More Stories view all 427