Seth Franco, the first Caucasian Harlem Globetrotter since 1942, faced a career-ending injury on his world tour in Europe in 2003. When the team landed in France, doctors noticed that Franco was limping. After undergoing x-rays, he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, an improper bone structure in the hips. Franco was told he would never play basketball again. Franco was invited to share his experience to exemplify the value of perseverance through challenges at True Life Christian Worship Center’s July 16 event for children from the church’s sports summer camp.
Michael Elliot, the church’s pastor, said he wanted to make sure that the children’s last day of camp was memorable and inspiring. He immediately thought of Franco, who he had heard speak at a Christmas event. “His story of overcoming obstacles and seeing his purpose in life, is a story that I wanted the kids to hear,” Elliot said. “I was hoping it would encourage them that no matter what happens, they can overcome and can do so with the help of Jesus Christ.”
Franco said he had been in pain a long time. “The sad part about my hip diagnosis was that I was in so much pain all my life,” he said, “and I didn’t know how bad it was until the doctors told me.”
He learned to live with the diagnosis, accepting it as normal. But it took someone else to show him that life could be better if he let the doctors heal him, he said.
“There are going to be many times where we walk through life with heartaches and pain,” Franco said, “but we have the choice to let God heal us. Put your trust in God.”
Camper RJ Hill, said “Franco’s presentation was inspiring, because I was able to see what he went through and how he overcame it throughout his surgery.” Hill loved Franco’s story, he said, and his skills.
When Franco was in a wheelchair after his surgery, he focused on learning new basketball tricks with his hands, which he demonstrated to the children. When he got back on his feet he used his talents as a gift to share with others.
“Franco’s story inspired me to fight through adversity in my own life, because he showed me how to be a friend to others and be there for them always,” camper Cody Carlson said. “He showed me how to be the best that I can be.”
Franco said that losing his basketball career was devastating at first, but he turned it into something that could positively change his life.
“My story is just like a basketball,” he said. “You can get pushed down in life, but the harder life pushes you down, the higher you soar.”
His journey of walking through life with God began when he began to share his story with others worldwide, he said. The biggest sport he learned in life was how to walk again. And although it remains hard for him to stand, he has made a choice to do what he loves to do. “Every day when I wake up I have a choice to make: Am I going to walk with God or am I going to take the easy way out?”
Franco said he has chosen to pursue his purpose in life with God’s help. “When you go through something tough, remember my story on how you can make something great out of life’s biggest challenges,” he said.