Travis Roy, a Boston University hockey player, who was paralyzed for 11 seconds during his first college shift and went on to become a speaker and advocate for the disabled, has passed away. He is 45 years old.
His death was confirmed by sports division BU and the Travis Roy Foundation.
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The school said: “With a heavy heart, we mourn the departure of Travis Roy. “His story is a model of inspiration and courage, and he is a role model and a hero for so many people. His legacy will last forever, not only in the Boston University community, but for countless lives, he has made an impact across the country. “
Roy is a 20-year-old freshman, making his debut for the defending champions NCAA in the opening game of the 1995-96 season when he crashed into the group after examining a North Dakota opponent.
The accident made him paralyzed limbs.
From his wheelchair, he gave motivational speeches to help raise money for a research fund and buy equipment for polio victims. The message he shared: Do the best you have and don’t bury your head in your unhappiness.
“I want to say that the first 20 years I lived a life full of passion and the last 20 years I had a life of purpose,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press shortly after turning the age. 40. “The dream is to have both at the same time, but I’m lucky. I will take either. “
In 1997, Roy founded the Travis Roy Foundation, which raised more than $ 9 million – half to research and half to supply equipment to people with spinal ligament injuries. Roy, who can control the joystick of his chair, has regained little movement after the injury and has no feeling below the center of his chest.
Roy told AP in 2015: “I just thought research would progress and by the time I was 40, I might have a chance to get back to normal,” Roy told AP in 2015, “some kids and a wife who no longer lives with 24-hour home care. “
The hockey world condolences them on Thursday.
“Travis Roy is the ultimate symbol of determination and courage,” said former Boston star Bruins and current team president Cam Neely. “The impact Travis has on the New England hockey community has been enormous, and his relentless support for spinal cord research has inspired.”
The son of a hockey rink manager in Maine who started skating at the age of 20 months, Roy attended North Yarmouth Academy and Tabor Academy before entering BU. Both high schools named their skates after him.
BU retired No. 24 in 1999; he graduated from school with a diploma in communication the following spring.
Roy told the AP five years ago: “I always thought how grateful I was. “What comes to mind sometimes is ‘Thank God, it’s not a brain injury.’ I don’t want any pity ”.
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Among the BU Terriers 1995-96 players were future NHLers Chris Drury, Jay Pandolfo, Shawn Bates and Mike Grier. Coach Jack Parker is a freelance coach in the American Hockey Hall of Fame; Olympic hero Mike Eruzione used to be an assistant coach.
Roy said he sometimes thinks about what might have happened if he wasn’t injured.
“There are good times when I think about it,” he said. “It’s also a bit sad to not know the answer.”