The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

A life changing 11 seconds

The brothers of Pi Kappa Phi invited Travis Roy, a former college ice hockey player to share his story about his perseverance despite an athletic injury in Burt Khan Court on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Andrew Ray, senior nursing major, is a member of Pi Kappa Phi and said that this is the second time he’s heard Roy’s story in person.

“I saw him in high school as well, there was an event there and it’s better every time you see it,” Ray said. “I think that being older and more mature now I gained more from it.”

The auditorium was packed with students and faculty eager to listen to Roy’s story. Even Judy Olian, the university’s newly inducted president conversed with Roy before he took the stage.

Roy explained that years ago, he wrote down a list of all of his goals that he wanted to accomplish in life. One of them involved playing for a college ice hockey team.

[media-credit name=”Photo contributed by Pi Kappa Phi” align=”alignright” width=”419″][/media-credit]“Hockey wasn’t just my goal, it was my passion, and I was willing to do everything and anything I could to cross off my goals,” Roy said. Roy reached this goal in his freshman year of college when he was accepted to play for Boston University’s Division I ice hockey team.

However, it was within a span of 11 seconds into his first game on Oct. 20, 1995 when then 20-yearold Roy was driven into the boards of the hockey rink and suffered a cracked fourth vertebra that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Roy knew almost immediately that something was wrong as he laid motionless on the ice.

“I knew when I saw my warm breath starting to melt into a puddle in the ice,” Roy said. “I knew when I saw a hockey glove moving towards me and I realized that it was mine, it was still on my hand but I couldn’t feel it and I couldn’t move it. The doctor was moving it.”

Roy was hospitalized for almost six months to recover from his accident. After he was released, Roy decided to return to his university in Fall 1996 where he realized just how much his lifestyle had changed.

“I found myself sitting in front of the exact same dorm that I walked into ten months earlier. This time there were no cute girls trying to catch my eye, no hockey bag or stick. Just me and my wheelchair, my medical supplies and my caretaker,” Roy said.

Visiting the cafeteria that day made things even more noticeable for Roy, as he recognized that the entire time he was there nobody said hello to him. Roy passed along a word of advice to the audience if they are ever in a similar situation as those other students.

“If I could encourage you to do one thing to make a difference in someone’s life, look that person in the eye, put a smile on your face and say hello,” Roy said. “That’s all I wanted, I just wanted someone to come up to me to see that I was still the same Travis Roy.”

Despite his life taking a turn so suddenly, Roy said that it wasn’t too difficult to stay positive because of the support he had from his family, friends and strangers who supported him by pitching in money to fund research into curing his spinal cord injury.

Pi Kappa Phi contributed as well by donating money to the Travis Roy Foundation through the $7 entry fee and any further proceeds given by attendees.

Before ending his speech, Roy told the audience to close their eyes and think about their own goals. As the audience had their eyes closed, Roy asked them how far would they go to reach those goals.

“I understand kind of a speech like this, the whole idea of setting goals. It’s a bit cliché, I get that. But I got to tell you, setting goals is the easy part. What does it take, five to ten minutes?,” Roy said. “I think the bigger challenge is what’s going to keep you motivated, especially when things don’t go your way?”

The audience gave Roy a standing ovation when he completed his speech, and Pi Kappa Phi gifted him with a framed Quinnipiac men’s  ice hockey shirt signed by all of the members of the team.

Roy continues his life as a philanthropist and motivational speaker. He also published a biography in 1998 called, “11 Seconds,” which chronicles his story in even greater detail.

Jessica Filardi, sophomore athletic training and physical therapy major said she was assigned to read Roy’s book, but wanted to get a first hand experience to hear him talk about his story.

“I like how he takes on challenges positively. I know myself if I am faced with something that I don’t want to deal with I don’t want to do it. I have no motivation,” Filardi said. “But he was so positive, so I thought that was cool.”

Filardi attended the event along with Camryn Alkes who is also a sophomore athletic training and  physical therapy major. Alkes admired Roy’s positivity as well.

“I say you always look at the glass half full,” Alkes said. “Obviously you should to begin with, but this shows that challenges are going to come and you’re going to overcome them if you want to.”

More to Discover