A Tribute to Nick Springer: Advocate, Athlete and Friend
Apr 26, 2021

Nick Springer

Image by GSK | Flickr

You didn’t need to see his gold medal to know Nick Springer was a champion. 

We knew him as a fierce advocate for immunization, but he was also a talented athlete and a devoted friend. 

When he was just 14, Nick got sick with meningococcal meningitis at a sleep-away camp. He survived. But the illness cost him much of his arms and legs, his hearing in one ear and nearly two months in an induced coma. 

Nine years later he would go on to play in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, propelling his wheelchair rugby team to bring home the gold. He was named MVP of that game and went on to earn a total of six international medals, including a bronze in the London Paralympics in 2012. 

We knew him as a hero. A man who listened more than he talked. Who helped others through tough times, who never wavered in support of the mission to wipe meningitis off the planet. 

We knew him off the field — as a champion for meningococcal immunizations. As spokesperson for the National Meningitis Association (NMA), Nick shared his story and urged others to get vaccinated against a disease that nearly cost him everything. His mother, one of NMA’s cofounders, and father Gary worked side-by-side with our good friend Lynn Bozof for years to raise money at NMA’s annual gala, an event in New York City each year that was not to be missed. Nick’s moving story was always the highlight of the evening. 

He and his father Gary had an uncanny ability to strike the perfect emotional balance when telling the tale of Nick’s struggle to overcome the devastating consequences of contracting meningococcal disease, which ultimately led to his pursuit of excellence on the rugby field. Nick could move you to tears one moment and leave you laughing with his clever one-liners the next.  

We knew him as a hero. A man who listened more than he talked. Who helped others through tough times, who never wavered in support of the mission to wipe meningitis off the planet. 

Nick died suddenly at age 35. We’ll miss his smile… his stories. But mostly we’ll miss him. 

Thank you, Nick. For your advocacy and your friendship. May you find peace beside Lynn and your darling mother in heaven.  

— From All of Us at Vaccinate Your Family


Please watch Nick Springer’s story here:


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