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SJSU's Nik Trapani Wins CalHOPE Courage Award


SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nik Trapani of the San José State baseball team was named a recipient of the CalHOPE Courage Award for the month of October. He will be presented with the award at a San José State football game later this season, date to be determined.

The award, presented monthly since February 2022, honors student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have overcome the stress, anxiety, and mental trauma associated with personal hardships and adversity. It is presented by the College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA), in association with The Associated Press; CalHOPE, DHCS’ crisis counseling and support resource; and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being.

When Trapani made the jump from Loyola High School in Los Angeles to play Division I baseball at San José State, it was a dream come true. But when the injuries piled up and he was unable to prove himself, doubt set in. His career with San José State has been fraught with challenges, including multiple injuries that have plagued him. As a result, Trapani has been limited to just 105 at bats and 57 games since first arriving on campus in 2018.

He suffered through bilateral patella tears in both knees from 2019-2021, which forced him to undergo surgery and sit out the 2022 season. When he returned the following season, he was limited to just 81 at bats as his injury worsened. He underwent another surgery last summer to repair his knee. Currently rehabbing, he is planning on being in the opening day lineup in February 2024.

Sitting out the entire 2022 season was mentally challenging for Trapani. He took the courageous step to see a therapist and discovered his family had a history of anxiety. Understanding that people close to him suffered the same affliction made him feel less alone and encouraged him to continue therapy to develop strategies to improve his mental health. 

Despite his many challenges, Trapani was an offensive force for the Spartans last season when they captured their first-ever Mountain West Conference championship and became the first Spartan team in more than 20 years to advance to the NCAA Regional Tournament. Trapani started every game in both the conference tournament and NCAA Stanford Regional.

“My journey at San Jose State hasn’t been easy. Even last year when I was playing regularly, I was in pain every day,” explained Trapani. “However, the perspective I have gained from my experience and therapy has allowed me to develop an appreciation for playing baseball that I used to take for granted. I certainly understand that none of this is possible without my family and girlfriend who have supported me, teammates who have pushed me, coaches who have led me, and especially my trainer, Karter Lang, who has been with me every step of the way.”

Trapani is the second San José State student-athlete to receive the CalHOPE Courage Award as Jennah Loggins was honored in September.

Stories about all CalHOPE Courage Award honorees are available at and via social media at @CalHOPE_Courage.

Sports information directors at all colleges and universities in California are encouraged to nominate deserving intercollegiate student-athletes through March 2024 at The honorees will be selected by a panel of writers, editors, The Associated Press, and the College Sports Communicators.


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