Nick Springer in action during the Bronze Medal match of Wheelchair Rugby against Japan at the Paralympic Games London 2012 at Basketball Arena on Sept. 9, 2012 in London, England.
Nick Springer, a two-time Paralympian and 2008 gold medalist in wheelchair rugby, has died at the age of 35.
In a post shared to social media, the United States Quad Rugby Association paid tribute to the two-time world champion.
“We have no words to express the sense of loss with the news of his passing,” the post read. “We know that Nick was so much to so many people. We are all lucky to have known him along his incredible path. Our hearts are with those that knew him best and the loved ones he left behind.”
After growing up dreaming of playing for the New York Rangers, Springer tried sled hockey. That led him to wheelchair rugby, and he earned a spot on the gold medal-winning U.S. world championship team by 2006. Springer earned his Paralympic gold medal in 2008 then he and Team USA repeated as world champs in 2010. Springer competed at one more Paralympic Games, winning bronze in London in 2012.
Springer also became an advocate for meningitis awareness, working with the National Meningitis Association and doing public speaking. He spread awareness of the importance of vaccination and also worked with survivors on their recovery.
“When you realize the future and the rest of your life really isn’t going to be that bad, it is such a sobering, wonderful feeling,” Springer told USA Today in 2016. “It’s really turned out to be a hell of a career.”