Former Boston University hockey player, quadriplegic inspiration, Travis Roy has died

Roy was paralyzed due to an injury 11 seconds into his first shift at BU.

Former BU hockey player Travis Roy was paralyzed just 11 seconds into his college hockey career in 1995 during a game against the University of North Dakota. The 20-year-old Roy slid head-first into the boards, cracking his fourth and fifth cervical vertebra.
Former BU hockey player Travis Roy was paralyzed just 11 seconds into his college hockey career in 1995 during a game against the University of North Dakota. The 20-year-old Roy slid head-first into the boards, cracking his fourth and fifth cervical vertebra. –Stan Grossfeld / The Boston Globe

Former Boston University hockey player and quadriplegic inspiration Travis Roy died Thursday at the age of 45.

Roy was injured just 11 seconds into his first shift with the Terriers. The injury, which occurred 25 years ago this month, left Roy paralyzed.

After the injury, Roy created The Travis Roy Foundation in 1997 to help spinal cord injury survivors and to fund research into a cure. Millions of dollars have been raised for the foundation since its creation. With the help of Sports Illustrated writer E.M. Swift, Roy wrote an autobiography titled Eleven Seconds which was released in 1998.

Boston University retired Roy’s No. 24 in 1999, making him the first hockey player in the school’s history to have their number retired.

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Roy, who grew up in Maine, spent in his final years in Vermont, living in a house that overlooked Lake Champlain.

Roy was rushed to the University of Vermont Medical Center on Tuesday for emergency surgery due to complications from a procedure he had in September. His parents, Lee and Brenda Roy, and his sister Tobi were by his side when he passed away Thursday afternoon.

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