Travis Roy motivates WHS with inspiring story


Adi Saligrama

Travis Roy spoke in front of WHS in a special assembly.

Nicholas Melnichenko and Heather Lee

The audience watched in a hushed silence as motivational speaker Travis Roy wheeled onstage in front of the WHS student body on February 4. Speaking in a level voice, Roy used the story of his life to express to the audience the importance of overcoming hurdles in one’s life.

“[Travis Roy] showed us that no matter what happens, you need to keep going and fighting to live your best life,” senior Kevin Ma said in regards to Roy’s speech.

Roy became a quadrapelitic when he crashed head-first into the boards in his first college hockey game. After showing a brief news story of his injury on the overhead projector, Roy gave a personal account on what happened that fateful day. 

“As if I found myself laying face down in the ice that night, I knew almost immediately that I was in trouble,” Roy said in his speech. “As I watched my warm breath melting a puddle in the ice [and] my glove moving towards me, I couldn’t feel it at all; a doctor was moving it for me.”

Throughout his talk, Roy emphasized the importance of working hard to reach one’s goals in life. Having trained and studied hard to make Boston University’s Division I hockey team, his athletic career is still a great, personal accomplishment according to Roy.

“I had made it to a D1 hockey team, and no one can take that away from me. It had taken all of 11 seconds, but in those 11 seconds I proved that this little guy from Maine had chosen his challenge, and he had made it. I had proven it to everyone else, but more importantly, I had proven myself,” Roy said. 

Since his injury, Roy has regained use of one arm. However, his broken fourth vertebrae still prevents movement on the other three limbs. Roy explained to the audience his outlook on overcoming hardships.

“There are times when we choose our challenges and goals, but there are times when challenges that choose us. And what we do in the face of those challenges determines who we are,” Roy explained. 

Two years after his accident, Roy created the Travis Roy Foundation in order to help patients of spinal cord injuries and fund medical research. Having navigated a world wheelchair-bound, he recommended that the audience should treat people with kindness.

“If you come across someone with a disability or something that makes them different, have compassion. Look at that person in the eye, and say hello. That’s all I wanted at the time, for someone to look me in the eye and see that I was still Travis Roy,” he said. 

Ma talked about what he took away overall from the speech. 

“Nobody wants to see that sort of thing happen to anybody who works hard. He showed us that no matter what happens, you need to keep going and fighting to live your best life,” Ma said.