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ELEVEN SECONDS by Travis Roy

ELEVEN SECONDS

A Story of Tragedy, Courage, and Triumph

By Travis Roy (Author) , E.M. Swift (Author)

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1998
ISBN: 0-446-52188-4

 The story of an athlete whose career was cut short by a devastating injury is sadly all too common, but here it is told with unusual honesty and feeling. Twenty-year-old Roy was eleven seconds into his first collegiate hockey game as a Boston University freshman when a crash into the boards broke his neck. Assisted by Sports Illustrated writer Swift (coauthor of the bestselling My Sergei), Roy describes his growing-up years as the son of a hockey coach in Maine and his fierce love of the sport that dominated his life from an early age. His dreams of making the US Olympic team and then the National Hockey League ended on October 20, 1995, when the fourth vertebra in his spine was shattered, leaving him a quadriplegic. Parents of hockey-playing teens take note: On average, four players are similarly injured every year. After months in a Boston hospital and an Atlanta rehab center for spinal-cord injuries, he returned to his parents' home in Maine to recuperate. A year later he was back at Boston University, starting again as a freshman, this time not as a hockey star but in a wheelchair, struggling desperately to fit in. What distinguishes Roy's story is the degree to which he lets the reader share his sadness. The subtitle may speak of triumph, but the victories are heartbreakingly tiny ones, and there are more tears than cheers. While portions of the text slip into sports lingo that only hockey fans will fully grasp, no special knowledge is needed to understand the trauma suffered by the whole Roy family or to appreciate their warmth and caring and that of Roy's girlfriend and his empathetic coach. A true horror story with a mildly upbeat ending. (8 pages b&w photos)