ECU infielder who lost leg in boating accident makes debut

Parker Byrd, a sophomore at East Carolina University who lost his leg in a boating accident two years ago, became the first person to play in a DI baseball game with a prosthetic leg.

He debuted for the Pirates in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter in their 16-2 win last night.

“It is one of the proudest moments I have ever had as a coach,” Cliff Godwin, manager of the team, said in an on-field interview with WCTI-TV, reported by ESPN. “And he’s going to get some more. He has worked his tail off, it was super emotional. The umpire behind home plate told me when I was making a change he has been umpiring for 17-18 years and it is the coolest moment he has ever been a part of.”

Parker Byrd during the WWBA World Championship at Roger Dean Stadium Complex on Oct. 7, 2021, in Jupiter, Florida.
Photo: AP

In the summer of 2022, Byrd’s legs were cut by a boat propeller, resulting in losing his right one. He had 22 surgeries in a 45-day window, proving that recovery was going to be a long road. In December of that same year, he received his prosthetic leg. 19 months later, he was able to walk up to home plate to swing.

“I mean chill bumps man, it’s absolutely phenomenal,” Byrd said after the game. “This crowd, these fans, these people, my family, my teammates, coaches I really could not be more thankful and blessed.”

After the video of him playing went viral on social media, many reached out to Byrd and offered their support. One person was former New York Yankee Jim Abbott, a pitcher who was born without his right hand.

“Well done Parker! Nothing can stop you!” he wrote on X.

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