Travis Roy, the ice hockey player from Maine who touched and motivated millions of hearts after he got paralyzed in his first college hockey game, died on Thursday 29th October 2020, at the age of 45. Keith VanOrden, Travis’ brother-in-law and the family spokesman said that the hockey player lived his last breath at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Travis faced complications from earlier surgery and was hurried in for another surgery on Tuesday, October 27.
How was Travis injured?
Born in Augusta and brought up in Yarmouth, Travis attended North Yarmouth Academy. He was a fresher at Boston University when he took part in his first ice hockey college tournament on 20th October 1995. At the eleventh second of the match, Travis was down on the ice in a paralyzed state. He slid on the ice and hit his head on the board. The injury severely damaged his spinal cord and bound him to wheelchairs for life. Though, it could not touch his heart and spirit. Travis became a motivator, influencer, and philanthropist. His speech and words gave life to millions of hearts that have been through similar incidents and accidents.
How Travis reached millions
Travis set up the Travis Roy Foundation in 1997 to provide support to spinal cord injury survivors and to pool research money for curing the health condition. Wheelchair-bound, Travis traveled to many countries to talk about his accident and his life and gain funds for spinal cord injury research. According to the official website of Travis Roy Foundation, Travis helped over 2100 wheelchair-bound people and granted $5 million in spinal cord research.
Travis’s brother in law VanOrden said that he was a ray of hope for many people. Spending 10 minutes to an hour left a person feeling better. Scott Rousseau, the coach of the Cheverus High School Girls Hockey team and a member of the Travis Roy Foundation was saddened by Travis’s death. He said that although Travis had a difficult life, he led it with a positive attitude. He was exemplary. Rousseau feels that Travis transcended hockey. According to him, Travis’s real legacy formed after the end of his ice hockey career. Rousseau is inspired by what Travis has been able to do after facing such an incident.
Travis’s achievements and his simple but impactful gestures
Tom Caron, the studio host for the Boston Red Sox broadcasts on NESN texted Travis about the 25th anniversary of his injury. He said he felt devastated by the news like many people. Caron could talk about many car accidents and hockey accident survivors hospitalized with paralysis whom Travis met and talked before they approached his foundation.
The ice rink of North Yarmouth Academy where Travis injured his spine, was renamed after him in 1998. For many years, Travis’s father Lee was the rink manager of the North Yarmouth Academy. He was given with Spirit of Courage Award by the Christopher Reeve Foundation in 2014. Travis received his honorary degree from BU, Doctor of Humane Letters, from President Robert A. Brown, on 15th May 2016.