Roy attended Yarmouth High School as a freshman, then transferred to nearby North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) in order to pursue an athletic scholarship. Roy transferred again and graduated from Tabor Academy and received an ice hockey scholarship to Boston University.
On October 20, 1995 – just eleven seconds into his first-ever shift for Boston University men's ice hockey team – a 20-year-old Roy slid head-first into the boards after University of North Dakota player Mitch Vig avoided Roy's check. The awkward impact with the boards resulted in Roy cracking his fourth and fifth vertebra and leaving him a quadriplegic.
Since the accident, he has regained movement in his right arm.
In 1998, NYA's ice arena was named the "Travis Roy Arena" in his honor and his number, 00, retired. His shirt number hangs in the rafters alongside Eric Weinrich's #7 — the only numbers retired by NYA. In October 1999, Roy's #24 was retired, and raised to the rafters of Boston University's Walter Brown Arena, now present in BU's Agganis Arena. Roy is the only BU hockey player to have been honored with a retired number.
Travis is the son of Lee Roy and Brenda Roy.
In 1997, Roy started a foundation called "The Travis Roy Foundation" to help spinal cord injury survivors and to fund research into a cure. Inspired by Travis' own story, the lifeblood of the Travis Roy Foundation has been the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations across North America. This generosity has made an immediate impact on the lives of many individuals.
Since 1997 the Travis Roy Foundation has distributed more than $2.5 million in individual grants and to research projects and rehabilitation institutions across North America. The individual grant funds have been used to modify vans and to purchase wheelchairs, computers, ramps, shower chairs, and other adaptive equipment to help paraplegics and quadriplegics live their lives.
According to The Travis Roy Foundation, The Travis Roy Foundation is uniquely positioned to touch individual lives with its focus on providing adaptive equipment and sponsoring research. In the US alone, there are approximately 250,000 people currently living with a spinal cord injury and 13,000 new injuries each year.