East Carolina’s Parker Byrd Returns To Play Baseball With Prosthetic Leg After Enduring 22 Surgeries

East Carolina baseball

What a story this is. It’s not every day that NCAA baseball seizes the hearts and minds of American sports fans outside the brief College World Series window, but East Carolina infielder/pitcher Parker Byrd did just that with a heroic return to the field in the Pirates’ season opener.

Byrd had his leg amputated after a boating accident, which obviously put his career on the diamond in jeopardy. He incredibly came out the other side of 22 surgeries, and was in good enough shape to wear a prosthetic leg and continue on playing baseball.

Here’s some footage of the deserving ovation he got on Friday night:

Thanks to a keen eye in the batters box, Byrd drew a walk before a pinch runner came on to spell him to even more enthusiastic applause from the bleachers.

East Carolina played inspired all evening to say the least, blowing out Rider by a score of 16-2. The first D1 baseball player to play with a prosthetic leg. Wow. What else can be said? I’m confident in saying this is already one of the most inspiring sports stories of the year, and we’re only about halfway through February.

Here’s how Byrd’s family reacted to his first plate appearance:

ECU coach Cliff Godwin said afterwards that the home plate umpire told him that Byrd’s at-bat and the reception surrounding it was the coolest moment he’d seen in almost two decades of work.

Former MLB pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand but still managed to throw a no-hitter for the Yankees back in 1993, voiced his support for Byrd’s journey on X/Twitter.

Byrd was moved by all the support he received and how much everyone believed in him as he fought his way back to play. He even got to leap into the stands to hug his family after the Pirates’ win.

This is exactly the type of uplifting narrative any sports fan could use to start the first weekend in a while without the NFL.

Here’s hoping Parker Byrd can keep his tremendous comeback going. Whether or not he slowly works his way into more playing time this season, he’s already achieved so much by being out there with all the adversity he’s been through. East Carolina probably gained a lot of casual fans overnight on the strength of this amazing story alone.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock