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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

As reported by

A teenager who never thought he'd play a minute on the court makes a once-in-a-lifetime shot on the basketball court.

Gabriel Hafter is 15 and loves basketball. He also has a rare birth defect that has forced him to undergo more than a dozen surgeries on his face.

Normally contact sports are out of the question.

Earlier this month, Hafter's JCC team surprised him when they were at an out-of-state tournament. They put him in the game during the last few seconds and he made a three-point shot.

Hafter practices with the team and goes to all the games, but never thought he'd be on the court.

"At first I didn't think it went in, and then everyone was screaming so it was very overwhelming, but I was really happy," said Hafter.

"I think we were all in kind of disbelief of just, oh, like that happened, and then we all just rushed the court. It was our team and their team. We all just kind of bear hugged him," said Adam Greenburg, the head basketball coach.

There's a chance Hafter could get regular playing time. His family is looking into buying him a specially molded face mask. They're very expensive, but it could protect his most vulnerable area.

Gabriel definitely loves the excitement he felt that day he made the shot.

"My team was excited. The other team was excited. The crowd they were all happy. They all thought it was an amazing moment," said Hafter.

When he's not playing basketball, Hafter gives talks to other students about his birth defect, Teacher Collins Syndrome.

Watch the ABC Story on Youtube