Before the white coat: Dr. Eduardo Novais

Dr. Eduardo Novais practices his soccer skills.

When Dr. Eduardo Novais was growing up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, his main hobbies were soccer and capoeira — a martial art that originated in Africa and blends dance, acrobatics and music. “There was a fair amount of prejudice in Brazil when I was a child. I hung out with a lot of Afro-Brazilian kids, which helped me not see color in people,” says Novais.

Eduardo Novais — At a glance

Favorite childhood book, game or hobby:
capoeira and soccer
Advice for 10-year-old self:
“Never be afraid to explore.”
Favorite way to relax:
Novais tries to make it home every night in time for bath time and story time with his children Arthur, 3 and Sophia, 5. They also love playing soccer together.

Though soccer and capoeira set the stage for some lifelong friendships, Novais tended to dodge his friends when they were flirting with trouble. “I never broke many rules. I wouldn’t jump from a high tree or do anything before my friends did. I was always extra careful.”

There’s one exception to Novais’ aversion to risk — his professional life. Novais bounced from Brazil to Boston to Denver and back to Boston as he pursued his dream of becoming a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, specializing in caring for babies, children and young adults with hip conditions.

And today, the man who confesses to measuring every move he makes has some simple advice for his own children and his patients. “Don’t be afraid of failing. You’ll learn a lot more from failing than from not failing.”

The boy who loves soccer has become a successful orthopedic surgeon in the Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center and Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program.

Learn more about hip conditions and treatments.