It was the 8th inning of East Carolina’s first game of the 2023 season. The crowd cheered as Parker Byrd, a sophomore, stepped up to the plate and worked a walk in his first-ever college at bat. He jogged down the first baseline, making history with every step as he became the first player with a prosthetic leg to play in a Division 1 baseball game. 

Who is Parker Byrd?

Before he arrived at ECU, Byrd  was ranked 75th as a shortstop nationally and was viewed as the second-best shortstop in North Carolina. The summer before he left for college Bryd went on a boating trip with a teammate. During the trip Byrd was tubing off the back of the boat and fell off the tube. He got his leg caught in the propeller while trying to get back in the boat.  

After the accident he was airlifted to the hospital in Greenville. 

“I knew I was dying in the helicopter for sure. I felt my energy leaving my body,” Byrd told reporters.  “It was kind of like my body was, my soul was like up and my body was still there and I was just kind of like laying there.”

Once Byrd reached the hospital he underwent twenty-two surgeries in fity -four days to save his life and remove his leg right leg below the knee. Despite his new condition, Byrd was determined to get back on  the field.


Byrd spent 2023 season  in rehabilitation working to regain function using a prosthetic. He partnered with the Challenged Athlete Foundation to receive  a new prosthetic that would make it easier to run and worked tirelessly to get back on the field. In addition to his training Byrd was very open about his comeback story hoping to inspire youg athletes along his journey. He even appeared in a Super Bowl commercial  to raise awareness for the orgininztion.  He took an opportunity while being interviewed by to  remind others who are struggling not to give up.

“Just keep pushing. Just because tragedy or something bad in your life happens, just keep going and your life is not over no matter if you lose a limb or get paralyzed, you’re still living and just to live every day and get 1% better, and just be grateful,” he said. 

On Febuary 16th 2024, he showed the world what you can accomplish when you try to get 1% better each day when he drew a walk in his team’s 16-2 rout over Ryder. 

“I  mean chill bumps man,” Byrd said reflecting on his history making moment . “This crowd, these people, my family, my teammates, coaches – I really could not be more thankful and blessed.” 

In addition to all of the media coverage surrounding the at bat Topps created a baseball card to commemorate the special moment.

The Message

Bryd has shown incredible resilience to get back on the field, but it’s his mental approach to adversity that we can all benefit from. In his year end instagram post, Byrd challenges us to stop making excuses of why we can’t and figure out how we will.