Roy earns prestigious Spirit of Courage Award from Christopher Reeve Foundation

Travis Roy was presented the Christopher Reeve Foundation’s prestigious Spirit of Courage Award at its annual gala in New York City on Thursday.

Roy, who fell head-first into the boards just 11 seconds into his first game with Boston University in 1995 and wound up paralyzed, has been involved with his self-named foundation for years, but has never been after any recognition.

“For a long time, almost 10 years, I never felt comfortable with the attention my story received,” Roy told the Portland Press Herald. “Basically, all I did was break my neck.

“The first seven, eight years, the impact [of the Travis Roy Foundation] was very small. The last eight, 10 years, we’ve changed the lives of 1,000 people. We’re funding research. I realize [the Spirit of Courage Award] is important. It means a lot to me because I share it with so many others. I’m just the lead singer of this band.”

Roy’s annual Wiffle ball fundraiser tournament in Essex, Vt., has raised $2,910,000 over the past 13 years.

“Every year I try to get through it without emotionally breaking down,” said Tony McNaboe, a longtime friend of Roy’s, to the Press Herald. “Essex, for the three days of the tournament, is a little bit of utopia. It blows my mind what he’s turned that tournament into. It’s such a profoundly poignant time and it’s all because of Travis. He’s so selflessly concerned with you.”