Travis Roy, an inspirational figure after suffering paralysis during an on-ice fall playing for Boston University in 1995, died at 45.
Just 11 seconds into his first shift with Boston University, the then-20-year-old Roy fell awkwardly into the boards after attempting to deliver a check. The Travis Roy Foundation described that moment:
Eleven seconds was all it took. Eleven seconds to stop cold a shining career scarcely before it had take off on the ice. Travis Roy was a promising 20-year-old hockey star. Then moments into his first collegiate game as a Boston University freshman, a freak accident drove Travis into the boards. A cracked fourth vertebra left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Following that 1995 injury, which left Roy paralyzed, he founded the Travis Roy Foundation, and also co-wrote the book “Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage, and Triumph” about his experience. In addition to charitable work, Roy also toured as an inspirational speaker, including to NHL teams.
Boston University released the following statement upon word of Roy’s passing:
“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Travis Roy,” BU Athletics 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. Travis’ work and dedication towards helping fellow spinal cord-injury survivors is nothing short of amazing. His legacy will last forever, not just within the Boston University community, but with the countless lives he has impacted across the country. Our sincere thoughts are with his wonderful family as well as his vast support group of friends and colleagues.”
USA Hockey also paid tribute to Travis Roy:
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
ESPN’s John Buccigross shared one of the most heartfelt remembrances of Roy:
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
Boston University provided an inspiring look at his work through The Travis Roy Foundation, while the Boston Globe, ESPN, and other publications recalled his path from that accident to helping others.