ECU baseball player appears in game with prosthetic leg after boating accident


GREENVILLE, N.C. — East Carolina sophomore Parker Byrd appeared in Friday’s season-opening win against Rider with a prosthetic leg after having part of his right leg amputated following a 2022 boating accident.

The school said he is the first NCAA Division I athlete to play in a game with a prosthetic leg. Athletics spokesman Malcolm Gray said the Byrd family researched for any other examples. NCAA spokesman Greg Johnson said the organization doesn’t track that type of record.

Byrd, an in-state product from Laurinburg, walked to the plate in the eighth inning to a loud ovation from the home crowd. He took a first-pitch strike then drew four straight balls to reach base. The Pirates then had freshman Jason Janesko come on as a pinch runner.

“Chill bumps, man,” Byrd said in his postgame interview with reporters. “It’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Pirates coach Cliff Godwin told WCTI-TV based in New Bern that it was “one of the proudest moments I have ever had as a coach.”

“He’s going to get some more,” Godwin said. “But he’s worked his tail off. It was super-emotional.

“The umpire behind home plate told me when I was making a change, he said he’s been umpiring for 17, 18 years and it’s the coolest moment he’s ever been a part of. So he said he was tearing up back there, as I was, when he was running off the field.”


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