Travis Roy reflects on fundraising, hockey community 20 years after paralyzing injury

Travis Roy was honored as an honorary Bruin for the day ahead of the 20th anniversary of an accident that left him paralyzed.
Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

It has been 20 years since former Boston University player Travis Roy last laced up his skates and stepped onto the ice. Twenty years ago, Roy did not know his hockey career would end after just 11 seconds of playing on collegiate ice. But Roy went in for a hit on that first shift of his NCAA career and crashed head-first into the boards, breaking his fourth and fifth cervical vertebra and leaving him paralyzed from the neck down with the exception of some regained movement in his right arm. 

In the years since the accident, Roy went on to earn a degree in public relations from BU, begin a public speaking career, and work tirelessly for a foundation in his name, the Travis Roy Foundation, to promote and raise money for spinal cord injury research and patients. 

The hockey community — especially the Boston Bruins — have been by Roy's side through the entire journey. The Bruins recently made a $50,000 contribution to the Travis Roy Foundation as a way of marking the anniversary of the accident, and Roy was given a one-day contract by the club and honored with a ceremonial center-ice puck drop. 

The Bruins played the Tampa Bay Lightning that night, and Steven Stamkos — who was part of the puck-drop — said the moment was especially meaningful.

“That was special,” Stamkos told reporters. “To see what he went through and what the Bruins organization has done for him was pretty special. It was something that you love to see, and it was nice to be a part of.”

Roy credited the Bruins as one of the key players in improving his quality of life and also assisting with the Travis Roy Foundation.

“The Bruins, over the years, have made some significant donations to the Travis Roy Foundation,” Roy told reporters. “I can't believe it's been 20 years since my injury, but the Bruins were there Day 1. 

“They did everything they could to help support me, get me headed in the right direction and help me raise some money that has played a big impact in my life early on, but now raising money for the Travis Roy Foundation. The Jacobs family has been so incredible and I'm just grateful.”

ABC News penned a story which goes deeper into what Travis Roy's everyday life and impact on the paralysis world is like. Barring a significant medical breakthrough, Roy will never walk or play hockey again, but his story is one that will continue to impact the lives of hockey players and paralysis patients for a long time to come. 

(h/t ABC News)

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