For many, basketball is more than just a game. To Warriors Basketball Academy coach and cancer survivor Troy Druppal, basketball is his remedy.
“Basketball means everything to me,” Druppal shared, “I’ve always said basketball was my chemotherapy when I battled cancer. After I was given six months to live, I denied undergoing treatment and just wanted to be around the game, because that’s what made me feel better and at peace.”
As a teenager, Druppal was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer generally found in patients under 25 years old. As the cancer continued to spread to his limbs, doctors were forced to amputate Duppal’s left arm, adding another unforeseen chapter to the teenager’s challenges. Given only six months to live, Druppal decided to forego conventional cancer treatments and focus on making personal lifestyle modifications including changes to his diet, exercise routine and developing a fighter’s mindset.
Though Druppal faced many obstacles along his journey, he chose to live courageously
and refused to give up. He spent as much time as he could playing basketball, and in 2018, after a decade-long battle fueled by determination and hope, Druppal was confirmed cancer-free.
"I don’t want people to think that there isn’t hope, because there is. When I dedicated my life to focus on beating cancer without receiving any treatment, I felt like I owed my life to help as many people as possible overcome obstacles they might think are impossible,” Druppal stated.
Druppal has become a dedicated role model, mentor, and coach to youth across the nation. He remains focused on basketball, playing for Amp1, a team of amputee athletes that travel nationally, and working as a Warriors Basketball Academy coach. A native of Richmond, California, Druppal joined the organization as a youth basketball coach after attending a local amputee basketball clinic in 2017.
“What drew me to the Warriors was how passionate the organization has been win or lose. In a way, it reminds me (of) how I live my life, even when things aren’t going your way, if you stay positive and work hard, anything is possible,” Druppal shared.
Druppal was recently named Local NBA Coach of the Year for his contributions to the Warriors Basketball Academy program, translating his resolve on the court and inspiring the next generation of athletes to persevere no matter what the odds.
“When I heard that I was nominated I was really shocked and overwhelmed with how much of an impact I really made on the basketball community. I really felt like my drive and determination to not give up was really felt and I just couldn’t be any more thankful for the honor to represent (our) team,” Druppal shared on the designation. “Just knowing that I had something to do with helping young athletes with their confidence in becoming a better basketball player brings excitement and joy to my life.”
Warriors Basketball Academy Senior Director Jeff Addiego emphasized Druppal’s undeniable impact on the program, stating, “Troy has been such a positive influence at our camps. His patience and demeanor never waiver. He takes time to make sure each of his players understand what is being asked of them and pushes them to be their best. His example of not letting any obstacles or challenges get in the way impacts not only our participants, but every other staff member and parent he encounters as well. We are truly fortunate to have a coach like Troy as part of our program.”
Druppal continues to share his story in hopes to inspire others to live without fear, stating, “I want people to understand you can do whatever you want to do in life, regardless of what stands in your way. “ Druppal’s journey of determination, dedication and belief serves as an example to all, demonstrating how staying positive though adversity can make all the difference, no matter how large the challenge may seem.