Home Sports ECU INF 1st to compete in D-I with prosthetic leg

ECU INF 1st to compete in D-I with prosthetic leg

ECU INF 1st to compete in D-I with prosthetic leg


An East Carolina infielder/pitcher, who battled back from losing a leg in a boating accident two years ago, has become the first person to play in Division I baseball with a prosthetic leg.

Parker Byrd, a sophomore, got the historic moment to remember when he pinch-hit Friday night in the eighth inning of the Pirates’ season-opening 16-2 victory over Rider.

Walking to home plate to thunderous applause, Byrd reached base on a walk on a 3-1 pitch that drew an even bigger reaction from the crowd of 5,221 in Greenville, North Carolina. Byrd was pinch run for by designated hitter Jason Janesko, who eventually scored East Carolina’s 13th run of the game.

“I mean chill bumps man, its 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.”

ECU manager Cliff Godwin said he shared in the emotion of seeing Byrd step up to the plate for the first time.

“It is one of the proudest moments I have ever had as a coach,” Godwin said in an on-field interview with WCTI-TV. “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.”

Former major leaguer Jim Abbott, who played 10 professional seasons and threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees despite being born without a right hand, was among those to offer congratulations to Byrd on social media.

“Well done Parker, nothing can stop you!” he wrote.

A boating accident in Bath, North Carolina, in July 2022 very nearly cost Byrd his life and led to the amputation of his right leg.

He then needed 22 more surgeries in a 45-day period, and the path to get back on the field this season had been arduous. But he has now successfully reached a significant milestone on that long road back when he made his college debut on Friday.

“It’s really the people along the way that have helped me,” Byrd said to reporters. “God above has been looking over me all the time and I really couldn’t be more blessed to be in the opportunity I am today.”


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