Nick Springer, a Paralympics star for Team USA and a medalist in "murderball," has died at the age of 35. Springer's family confirmed he passed on Wednesday, April 14, with no cause of death yet. His death was described as "sudden," according to Deadline.
"Nick Springer. We have no words to express the sense of loss with the news of his passing. The man was a giant," the U.S. Quad Rugby Association wrote in a post paying tribute. "We know that Nick was so much to so many people. We are all lucky to have known him along his incredible journey. Our hearts are with those that knew him best and the loved ones he left behind."
Springer is the son of publicist Gary Springer and contracted Meningococcal Meningitis at 14, leading to both legs being amputated above the knee and both arms amputated to mid-forearm. Despite this, Springer launched himself into sports before even finishing rehab, playing sled hockey before switching to Quadriplegic Wheelchair Rugby. This is better known by most fans as "murderball," made famous by the 2005 documentary of the same name.
As part of Team USA, Springer and his team earned five gold medals on the international stage, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2012 the team earned bronze after losing to Canada in the semi-final round.
Springer was a leading voice for athletes with disabilities and advocate for vaccinations against Meningococcal Meningitis, working with pharmaceutical companies and government officials to pass laws to support efforts against the virus.
These efforts include being a spokesperson for the National Meningitis Association, co-founded by his late mother. He was also honorary chairman for the NMA annual gala titled "Give Kids A Shot."
"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 said to USA Today back in 2016. "It's really turned out to be a hell of a career." Rest in peace.