During Garrett Jensen’s sophomore year at Heritage High School in Brentwood, he suffered partial paralysis when a meningioma tumor the size of a lemon was discovered in his spinal cord. Due to the paralysis, he was forced to re-learn how to walk and perform other motor skills. Amazingly, he was able to return to baseball for his junior campaign. However, in the fall of his senior year, the day after receiving an offer to play at SFSU, he learned he would need spinal fusion surgery to fix a curvature in his spine, which was a result of the tumor. Once again, through hard work, a positive mindset, and his support system, he returned and pitched his senior season.
At SFSU, Jensen pitched just one-third of an inning for the Gators in his redshirt freshman season. The 2021 season was cancelled; then, last season, the 6-foot 4-inch 230pound right-handed hurler made 10 appearances for the Gators. An English-creative writing major who hopes to one day work in the field of sports writing, was recognized in 2020, 2021, and 2022 with California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Academic Awards.
“Having to re-learn how to walk and just function normally again, undergoing monthly two-hour long MRIs, and overcoming the adversity of a life-altering injury, all while wondering if I would ever play baseball again, was more stressful than I could have ever imagined,”
“I had unbelievable emotional support from my family and friends, for which I am forever grateful, but at the end of the day, nobody could get through it for me. I couldn’t imagine a life without baseball, so every day I made it a point to get just a little bit better and to take one step closer to my goal.”
“CalHOPE is honored to recognize student-athletes throughout the state who, despite setbacks, have overcome life’s challenges to continue to perform their best as both scholars and athletes. CalHOPE’s purpose is to build community resiliency and help people recover through free outreach, crisis counseling, and support services. We hope that by sharing these stories that student-athletes have experienced, we will all be inspired.”
Dr. Jim Kooler, Behavioral Health Special Consultant for DHCS