Boy Who Couldn't Walk as Child Grows Up to Produce NBA Finals

June 9, 2005 — -- Ed Feibischoff has made a life out of sports, producing college games, Olympic events and basketball games for national television audiences. He is the lead producer of ABC's coverage of the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons, which starts tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

"I love sports," Feibischoff said. "I pinch myself every day. I can't believe this is what I do."

But as a young child, Feibischoff was unable to take part in sports himself. Doctors diagnosed him at age 3 with a rare degenerative disease in his right hip called Perthes. He was told he might never walk.

Feibischoff spent a year and a half in a children's hospital, starting when he was 8. He was confined to a wheelchair and locked into cumbersome leg braces.

When Feibischoff was released from the hospital, he burned his leg braces and three years later, he took his first steps. But he wasn't strong enough to play sports and would watch from his window while other kids his age were playing games in the street.

"When I was a kid and couldn't play, it made me want to be in sports even more," Feibischoff said.

He read up on rule books and sports history, and memorized every baseball card he could get his hands on. Eventually, Feibischoff figured out a way he could join in with his friends. He started running on his hands.

"My friends let me play and the only way I could run is if I would get on my hands and run," Feibischoff said. "You have to do what you have to do."

Eventually, Feibischoff gained enough strength to run on his legs. Although doctors worried about what the stress would do to his hip, he joined in pickup games with the other kids in his Queens, N.Y., neighborhood and played soccer and wrestled in high school.

His hip did collapse when he was 28, but Feibischoff underwent hip replacement surgery, which allows him to remain active to this day. He can now concentrate his energies on bringing sports to others.

"Game one? It's going to be a game with a winning shot and we might go into overtime tonight," said Feibischoff, plugging the finals with a laugh. "I'm looking for seven games."