About Travis Roy

travis royTravis Roy first put on ice skates when he was just 20 months old. As years passed, his love for the game of hockey quickly became a passion. In the fall of 1995 Roy accomplished one of his dream goals by earning a hockey scholarship to Boston University. At twenty-years of age he entered into his first collegiate hockey game. Eleven seconds into his first shift, his life changed forever as he crashed into the boards and cracked his fourth and fifth cervical vertebra, paralyzing him from the neck down.

travis royDespite this ill twist of fate, Roy has continued to persevere and defy the odds. With an intense rehabilitation regime, he has regained some movement in his right arm. While coming to grips with his life as a quadriplegic, he returned to Boston University less than a year after his accident. Four years later, he graduated with a degree in public relations from Boston University's prestigious College of Communication. In the storied history of BU Terriers hockey, Roy's #24 is the only jersey to have been retired.

In 1997 Roy wrote his autobiography with Sports Illustrated’s E.M. Swift titled Eleven Seconds which chronicles his accident, rehabilitation, and perseverance through personal tragedy. Eleven Seconds was updated in 2005 with an 'Afterword' chapter and is currently in its sixth printing. An articulate advocate for individuals living with spinal cord injuries, Roy is a frequent speaker on the hope research carries and the need for increased funding. He has testified before a US Senate Committee hearing for The National Institute of Health in Washington, DC, addressed the Massachusetts state legislature and provided testimony to the Maine state legislature. In 1997, he founded the Travis Roy Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on finding a cure for spinal cord injuries and provides grants to spinal cord injury survivors in financial need to help them purchase the costly adaptive equipment necessary to live more active and independent lives.

Actively involved in the activities of the Foundation that bears his name, Roy is a popular motivational speaker. A Boston, MA resident, he spends his summers with his family on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Roy can also be found supporting his Terriers at Boston University hockey games, or with a paint brush in his mouth working on his latest work of art.

Notable Facts about Travis

  • Received the Sam Gerson Humanitarian Award from the Charles River Center in 2010.
  • Travis Roy Foundation received the esteemed Giant Step's Award from the National Consortium for Academics and Sports in 2008.
  • Appeared with Maine Governor John Baldacci in 2006 in support of Governor's bill to double state research funds; invited by Governor Baldacci to testify before Maine legislature in 2007.
  • Invited to address the Massachusetts legislature in 2004 in support of a bill to make the Commonwealth a "stem cell safe haven."
  • Graduated from the prestigious Boston University College of Communication in 2000.
  • Founded the Travis Roy Foundation in 1998 to aid spinal cord injury survivors in financial need and to fund vital research.
  • Authored Eleven Seconds, published by Warner Books in 1997; in 2005, the book was in its sixth printing and was re-released with a new chapter.
  • Testified before a US Senate Committee for The National Institute of Health in 1996.
  • Returned to Boston University in 1996 less than one year after his accident, living in an on-campus dormitory and graduating in four years.
  • Gained national notoriety after shattering his C4/C5 vertebra just 11 seconds into his first shift of college hockey in a nationally televised game at Boston University in 1995. The resulting spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Eleven Seconds by Travis Roy with Sports Illustrated's E. M. Swift

eleven seconds

Within the 11 seconds that inspired this memoir, Travis Roy realized his dream, then smashed into his nightmare. On an October night in 1995, Roy, a talented young hockey player, skated onto the ice for his varsity debut with Boston University. Eleven fateful seconds later, he was paralyzed from the neck down. Aided by the sure touch of Sports Illustrated hockey writer E.M. Swift, Roy's moving account of his accident and his rehabilitation avoids the maudlin. Instead, Eleven Seconds is filled with grit, hope, humor, and a thoughtful young man's introspection on the meaning of sports and the adjustments that follow when the ability to play them is taken away.

To purchase a personally autographed copy of Travis’ book, Click Here.