The world lost an incredible man today. Travis Roy has passed away from complications stemming from his paralysis at the age of 45. A once-promising hockey star, Roy was injured just 11 seconds into his first shift for the Boston University Terriers. He broke his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae and was paralyzed from the waist down. But, that was far from the end of the road for him. He became a passionate advocate for people living with paralysis and served as an inspiration to countless people.
The Travis Roy Foundation
Just one year after his tragic accident, Travis returned to BU to finish his degree. But, instead of just focusing on school and his own daunting rehabilitation, he immediately began thinking of ways to help others in circumstances similar to his. The following year, at the age of just 21 years old, Roy created The Travis Roy Foundation, which helps fund spinal cord research and buy adaptive devices for those living with paralysis. Since its creation, the foundation has helped more than 2,100 quadriplegics and paraplegics and awarded almost $5 million in spinal cord research grants.
Roy Spread Hope and Awareness
As important as his work with his foundation was, his speeches were just as important. Travis traveled the country speaking at high schools, colleges, and businesses. In doing so, he raised the spirits of those living with paralysis and their families, as well as spread awareness to those who have not personally be affected by it. Listening to him speak was a treat, as his courage, perseverance, and positive attitude in the face of it all left all who were lucky enough to listen in awe. The perspective gained by listening to him tell his story was invaluable as well.
In addition to his speaking engagements, back in 1998, Roy wrote a book called Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage, and Triumph. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you should. It is a heartful, powerful, and deeply moving read. In it, Travis shares the story of his life leading up to and then after the accident, and how with the help of his family and friends, he was able to start a new life. Like his speaking engagements, his courage and perseverance in the face of tragedy are inspiring, and the perspective gained from reading is invaluable. Also, the E:60 piece on the life he chose to lead after the accident is well worth the watch, if you haven’t already seen it.
Tributes Have Been Pouring In Since the News Broke
Ever since the news broke, tributes have been pouring in from fans and all who were lucky enough to know him. Here are some of them.
“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Travis Roy,” @BUAthletics said in a statement. “His story is the epitome of inspiration and courage, and he was a role model and a hero to so many people. His legacy will last forever…" https://t.co/ow1DADKHFo
— Boston University (@BU_Tweets) October 29, 2020
Rest in peace, Travis Roy.
You were an inspiration to so many in the BU community and beyond. You will be sorely missed, but your legacy of kindness, generosity, and perseverance will stay with us forever. pic.twitter.com/fTop1ooPHs
— The BU Dog Pound (@BUDogPound) October 29, 2020
Countless conversations, emails, texts with my friend. He just loved to talk hockey. Frozen in that chair always tightened my chest with sadness. But, he became a pass first human improving the life of many with his grit and relentlessness. Travis Roy was 45. Skate again, my man. pic.twitter.com/nuiMCffDEa
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) October 29, 2020
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Travis Roy, who transformed his personal tragedy into a beacon of hope for millions of people in the game & beyond. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WeYzzULQCh
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) October 29, 2020
He was one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He taught us all that no obstacle, no adversity, was too much. That there was always hope for a better life. May he Rest In Peace. Thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Lee & Brenda, & everyone at @TRFoundation
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) October 29, 2020
Travis Roy had his lifelong dream taken away from him. He could have lived a life thereafter of sorrow and pain.
He chose to get to work, create change and hope for others who faced his same hardship, raising millions of dollars for spinal cord research.
RIP to an inspiration. https://t.co/AdB9xWO8a8
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 29, 2020
Just awful, awful news. Rest In Peace to the legend, Travis Roy. One of the kindest, most genuine and generous people you could ever hope to meet. Was an honor to work with him and his foundation in recent years. His legacy will live on. 2020 continues to be unspeakably terrible. pic.twitter.com/71xZsMToDI
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) October 29, 2020
Travis Roy's hockey dreams ended just 11 seconds into his first game with the Terriers.
To emerge from that despair and serve as a beacon of inspiration, perseverance and hope — it's truly remarkable.
What a legacy he left with so, so many. pic.twitter.com/52SE82d1gY
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 29, 2020
Travis Roy, you were beyond an inspiration to so many people. You had the kindest and most genuine soul. I am so thankful to have met you and am so heartbroken now. Your legacy will be carried and honored by your BU family eternally. Rest in the sweetest peace.❤️ pic.twitter.com/HTwzE3rbW3
— Katherine Ellis (@KatEllisMedia) October 29, 2020
I am saddened to hear of the passing of Travis Roy. An inspiration to us all who created a lasting legacy that defines what this country represents. Want an American Hero? Travis Roy should be high on your list. @TerrierHockey Thank you for more that just 11 seconds
— Dave Starman (@DStarmanHockey) October 29, 2020
Travis Roy Will Never Be Forgotten
This news is absolutely gutting. Growing up just 30 minutes from where he grew up, I will always be proud of the yearly fundraisers I got to participate in at North Yarmouth Academy, which he attended for a year and has named their ice arena after him (Travis Roy Arena). I even had the honor of meeting him one year, and it’s a memory I will cherish forever. Travis Roy is an inspiration to countless people. He could’ve spent the rest of his life bitter and resentful of the accident. But, he didn’t. Instead, he dedicated his life to improving others, and for that, he is a true hero.
All of us here at Couch Guy Sports send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Travis Roy. Thank you so much for all you did to help others. We hope you’re finally able to skate again. Your legacy will live on forever. If you have the means, please consider making a donation to The Travis Roy Foundation in his memory. To do so, follow this link.
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray25)
Featured image courtesy of Boston University.
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