Travis Roy, who became a quadriplegic just 11 seconds into his college hockey career 21 years ago at Boston University, discussed his life and experiences.
Roy said he excelled at hockey because he set goals for himself when he was young growing up in Maine.
“What’s great about setting goals is you can do it at any age,” Roy said. “Whatever it is that you start to figure out what you want to accomplish, write them down and then figure out how you are going to get there.”
Roy believes there are two primary motivating factors inside of each individual to attain goals.
He said there has to be a desire to see how good you want to be. Roy said you need pride to attain your goals as well.
“Being proud is knowing you tried your best,” he said. “It’s that feeling you get inside when you work hard.”
Roy told the story of his injury and his time recovering in the hospital.
He said he learned quickly that there was going to be more to his life then he originally thought after the accident. He realized he was going to be able to still participate in activities he enjoyed even though he is wheelchair bound and only has slight mobility in his right arm.
Roy learned that he could paint by putting a brush in his mouth. He also discussed scuba diving in a pool with the help of others and how amazing it made him feel.
Roy also told the students that an important part of life and school is finding out what your values are.
He said the most successful people he has ever met are the people who know themselves the best and know what their values are.
“As much as going to school is about learning math, English, writing and history, it’s also about figuring out what your values are – what you think is right, what you think is wrong, what you are going to stand up for,” Roy said.
He said he learned that there was no difference between the hockey player Travis Roy and the Travis Roy stuck in a wheel chair.
“The values that made me successful before my accident were going to be the exact same values that me successful afterwards,” he said. “And for me it was love. It was pride. It was respect. It was a positive attitude. It was setting goals.”
Roy stressed the importance of treating everyone with respect and not ignoring those who are different or have disabilities.
When he returned to school in his wheelchair he said he remembered eating at a table alone in a crowed cafeteria and that it made him feel like he didn’t belong. Roy told the students that just saying hello and sitting down and talking to those with disabilities can be important to them and make them feel part of the community.
St. Pius X School Principal Anne Dailey said having Roy talk to the students was an incredible experience.
“The students really listened to it,” Dailey said.
She said it was important for the students to see someone who is disabled but still has done incredible things with his life.
She also thought his story about eating alone was important to teach the students how important it is to make others feel they belong.
“We talk about bullying and when you exclude someone it is a form of bullying,” she said.
Roy speaks across the county and also set up the Travis Roy Foundation to help spinal cord injury survivors and to fund research for a cure.
Since 1997, the foundation has distributed more than $6 million in individual grants as well as research projects and rehabilitation institutions across North America.
By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter