Check Out Our Podcast: Catastrophic Comeback
Personal Injury Law Firm | Wilmington, NC | Speaks Law Firm
Call UsEmail Us
(910) 341-7570

Questions or Schedule An Appointment?

EP 45: ECU Baseball’s Parker Byrd Details Boating Accident & Recovery Process (Part 1)

Parker Byrd had a bright future and big goals when he committed to play baseball at East Carolina University. Following in his parents’ footsteps at ECU was a dream, but everything changed in the summer of 2022. A lake trip with some teammates ended in a boating accident that required Byrd to be airlifted back to ECU’s hospital.

During his recovery, doctors told him he would need to have his leg amputated or risk even more health issues. As his new reality was setting in, his mother didn’t let him give up his baseball dreams despite the amputation. She encouraged him to be the first person to play a college baseball game with a prosthetic leg.

That’s exactly what he did on February 16, 2024 when he drew a walk in his team’s win over Rider.

We talk about catastrophic injuries all the time, but this is a remarkable story that we hope can inspire you. In this part one, Byrd recounts that terrible event two years ago and the recovery process that’s followed.

Here’s some of what we discuss in this episode:
0:00 – Intro
0:40 – Growing up
1:33 – Baseball in North Carolina
3:21 – Recruiting process
6:12 – The boating accident
8:54 – Getting to the hospital
11:50 – Starting recovery process

Featured Keyword & Other Tags

Client Links

Learn more about how Speaks Law Firm can help you: https://www.speakslaw.com/

Schedule your FREE case review: https://www.speakslaw.com/our-team/r-clarke-speaks/#contactFormTarget 

Find us on YouTube: https://bit.ly/3R40YMP

Welcome to the catastrophic comeback podcast with American Injury Lawyer Clark speaks, helping you find hope, purpose and joy after a catastrophic injury.

Hi, welcome to catastrophic comeback. I'm Clark speaks and really excited today to have Parker bird. Join us. For those of you who don't know about this story, this is pretty phenomenal. So we're excited to hear about it. Welcome, Parker, thank you for being here.

Thanks for having me, man. I look forward to it.

All right. So talk to me a little bit about before this, this accident, that's been a big part of your life. Where are you from? Tell me about growing up. What do you like to do? What were the big things that you were involved in as a kid?

Yeah, so I'm from a little place called Laurinburg, North Carolina. It's very southeast part of the state. And growing up, I mean, I have mom, dad and two younger sisters. And we're all extremely close. But baseball was a big part of our family, just because I was playing basically, every weekend and my sisters were going on the road to my tournaments. And so we really live for baseball. And both my parents went to East Carolina University. And I got an offer from there and my ninth grade year and committed round spot, because that's where I wanted to go. Just live in my family's legacy. And everything was going good. So committed very early on. And so baseball has been a huge part of our lives.

So it seems like baseball at a high school and college level. North Carolina is like the mecca of baseball. Why is that? I'm

not quite sure. I think good weather, mostly around has good facilities in the area. And I think it's just a sport that naturally draws kids in this area for a very young age and families kind of prioritize it with travel ball and rec ball. So maybe just the way the families view baseball, but I don't know, it's just I guess, natural for kids of a young age to draw closer to baseball Robins area. Also,

I'm biased. I want these Carolina as well. So I'm biased. And I think East Carolina is one of the best baseball programs in the country. But but there's objective reasons to believe that right? Yeah,

there's a there's definitely the facts that prove that they were they were right tip this past week had a rough weekend, drop two or three at University, San Antonio, Texas, and so worried I think fit. Now by I mean, still tight fit to the nation. For the one level, it's pretty phenomenal in

this program has been in that at that level for a long time is consistent. Yeah,

well, yeah, we're consistent. Each year, we're top 25 team. With just coach Colin and the coaching staff here in the fan base. It's pretty easy to get recruits just because if you came to a game here, you'd want to play here too. And so just the environment, the coaching staff, and just coaching here just provides each and every year and we're blessed to have somewhere like this to call home and easily drove kids to come in here.

Also, if you got if you're committed in the ninth grade, you got to have a pretty unbelievable resume coming into the ninth grade. Is that fair?

Yeah, I mean, I was I was good ballplayer. Now I was looking at one school and one school only. So as soon as they committed as carwash just pulled the trigger and went on with it. But I had other offers and other from other schools, but issues where I wanted to be, what's

the recruitment process look like for for high school? I mean, or I guess you're getting recruited Middle School? Really? What does that look like for, for a kid we everybody who, and most kids play some kind of sport growing up, right. And when you're playing those sports, my kids played and all and you're trying to you kind of envision and being recruited for college and, and playing in front of a college audience in the college crowd. And that seems like, you know, one of the most exciting things in the world. So what's that recruitment process? Like?

I mean, it's different for each sport. But I mean, it's exciting no matter what sport you play. I think now it's a little different from when I was getting recruited just because of they put new laws in place to where you can't get recruited until maybe your junior year of baseball. So it's definitely moved back up to what it was. But But while there was young, I mean, we were committing in ninth grade. I mean, I was very early command in general, but we were committing very young and so I mean, it was something he had to go through a process pretty early on, but now that it's back to junior year, I think it's probably a little bit better just because kids are more mature and they don't pull the trigger as fast because I was kind of a rare case where I knew I wanted to go. But I mean, there's a lot of people out there and I have no idea. And then once they get that first offer and ninth grader, so they, they jump on as to they do it and they end up decommissioning later on, and their process was definitely different. But it's exciting no matter what border what age you get recruited at. Will. So

when you get recruited East Carolina in the ninth grade, your tell me what your your vision is, your plan is at that point in time. Are you thinking, Okay, this is this is, you know, what, what position did you play? What do you what do you? What do you envision your future is going to look like at that point in time? Yeah,

I mean, starting very early on as a freshman was to go and that's what I thought was in plan. And I played really anywhere in the infield, besides first base, I was very versatile, quite short, second, or third, wherever you need me. But I'm kind of new with the ages of the current players, that shortstop position was going to be open once I got here. And so I was looking forward to playing short wherever they wanted me at the time. Everything was lining up. Great. Then

something happens in your life, which is unexpected. Can you talk to me about that? Yeah,

so we were here for summer school, in 2022. They're freshmen here on the baseball team, get Congressmember school, just get acclimated to the new environment, coaching staff, to the new baseball program that they're in, so they can learn summer school, everything's going great. And then we got a recruit mid summer, which was really rare because like I say, I come in ninth grade and other guys out here committed pretty early on Tuesday. Having a recruit kind of mid summer, going into your freshman year of college is very rare nowadays. And then so he came in and he was a hey, my family has a river house and bath North Carolina, which is about 40 minutes away from Greenville. And we should go there when we can we have a boat we have to we should just go and have a great time. So I sounds good. Just kind of blew him off for the rest of the summer. That was the last weekend of summer school. And I kept on and on and he's like, Hey, this goes weekend to me in flight for the teammates Carrasco. Let's give it a shot. He says great time to go on down there. So that Friday after our morning morning, three hundreds and workouts and all the hard work we did during the summer, we went down there just hanging out for the weekend. And Friday went great. And that started a morning I was supposed to take one of the guys back to Greenville because he was supposed to help an elderly couple of moose furture well, he got a text morning saying hey, miles, thanks for volunteer, but we don't really need your help anymore. So the guy was like, hey, just got back on to had a great time yesterday. So let's do it again. So we went back out the first year I went great, me and Dixon Williams, one of my teammates got on to first and for Charmin good fell off and getting back home because we had such a good time. And second round job was like, Hey, I'm gonna try to throw you guys off a little bit quicker as time. So what sounds good. So my addiction both end up falling off the tube pretty quickly hitting the water pretty hard. So we got to get back to his boat because we're in some pain right now. So we're swimming back to the boat. And I was ahead of Dixon at the top. And I was using the rope from the tube to help guide myself into the boat. As I got within 10 yards or so from the boat, the driver put the boat reverse or it got knocked into reverse somehow. And then I've run running me over with the boat and propelling both of my legs and my left hand as well.

Oh my goodness. What happened in was so I imagine first of all I've been in? So I've been on boats my whole life. And I can envision exactly the scenario that you're talking about. And it could happen to any one of us on either side of this story. What what happened? What happened next?

Yeah, so thankfully, right people, right, Tom? Miles, currently the guy that I was supposed to take back to Greenville, he was out of the end of the boat at the time. And he jumped in immediately because he had a friend back home in Florida died a very similar way and my buddy accident. So he knew that getting help was very urgent and they need to get me back onto the boat. So they helped guide me back onto the boat. And he was telling the guys rip off the shirts and try to get from a leg so they're doing that as they were trying to lay down other boats because our boat wasn't able to move the robot called the propeller. So there are other boats and first boat Stop, man. They're like a dress some situation and the boat was like Sorry, we can't really help we have kids on the boat. We don't want to expose them to the same. But here's the first aid kit. I just didn't really want to help. His legs were far from a band aid so they continue to weigh down other boats and the second boat stop and on that boat was two couples and always in their comeback in that day was because one of the couples had got into an argument and there are hiking too. Take me back to the marina, we're kind of done for the day, and we're just gonna get back home. So on the way back is to us and they stop. And they agreed to help. So they transport me on to that boat and all that but when the lady was a nurse, so this time more Chart control my legs with ropes that they had on their boat, as they were transported me to the marina there where there's an ambulance weighed on me, the ambulance took me to the local hospital, Washington, North Carolina, where there was a helicopter waiting on me to airlift me to Eastern Health here in variable. So once I got here, that restaurant right in the surgery, and that's where I began the first day of my four week stay here at ACL. Wow.

Okay, so in this, in this podcast, we sort of talk spend some time talking about this moment, when, after some kind of event like this happens, then your family and doctors and nurses and medical people, and the first thing is just a rush, to try to save your life and make sure that you're going to live right at some point that becomes stable. And then you go, Okay, I'm gonna live and then at some point, all those people sort of leave and you're, you're there for the first time on your own. In that room, maybe that first night, when, after things subside a little bit. And you're sort of left, you know, with your thoughts. And for you, you're envisioning before that playing baseball at a top 20 or top 10 school in the country. Lots of kids from that program, go on to play in the Major League Baseball, you got your whole world sort of mapped out for you, you know, and then something like this happens, what's going through your head that when in those first few moments that you're in those first few hours, you're alone, after something like this happens? Yeah, um,

luckily, I have a really good support system and my family that were there, really the whole way. And with hospital rules at a time, only one person could be in a hospital room and ICU and two people per day. So I was kind of saying my mom and dad, mom and dad over and over, just because of the hospital rules. And they were they're really all the time. Because I mean, when something like this happens to your kid, you can't drop your world. And so they're there to support me, and let me know that anything's possible. And at first, my late My accident happened on July 23. And at first they didn't know where the sciatic nerve was, but they were able to keep the bleeding to stop, then they felt a sigh of nerves, a couple surgeries later, and I thought my leg was gonna be fine that both of my legs are gonna heal up and with some extensive rehab, I'd get back onto the field, get back with that top 20 program and a nation and be able to contribute. And these kinds of staff are always second, my right foot became really pale and cold, which was never able to move during these days, it's just a thought just due to the swelling and the initial accident that it wasn't able to move at time. But it come back and moving will be okay. But it was never able to move and it became really pale and cold. Both of my parents have a medical background. My dad's a pediatrician, and my mom's a nurse, they kind of knew that it wasn't very good at all. And so always forth, I came into the room that morning and said, Hey, we have two options. We can either empty your leg with low your knee, or we can continue this mess and we had your own nail which isn't really working and you will basically end up dying and your kidneys and liver will shut down and he'll be dead. And so I was I just cut it off and keep moving in life. So I mean, there's definitely some moments where I was by myself and I kind of was very confused, I would say confusing why it happened to me what was really going on and how my future would be just because there has never been an individual player to play with prosthetic legs, especially as meditation. There were some moments there where I was having doubt seven times is a lot of questions of how I was going to do life. But when I was telling my mom and I told her I was like Mom, I don't think I'll ever be able to play baseball game. She was like, Why you say that? And I was like well, it's never been division one player to play with a prosthetic leg and she said without hesitation or questions she goes well it always has to be a first why can it be used california mobile all I really had a positive outlook on it and realize that there does always have to be a first first year walking maybe.

Thank you for joining us and we'll see you next time.

Transcript

Welcome to the catastrophic comeback podcast with American Injury Lawyer Clark speaks, helping you find hope, purpose and joy after a catastrophic injury.

Hi, welcome to catastrophic comeback. I'm Clark speaks and really excited today to have Parker bird. Join us. For those of you who don't know about this story, this is pretty phenomenal. So we're excited to hear about it. Welcome, Parker, thank you for being here.

Thanks for having me, man. I look forward to it.

All right. So talk to me a little bit about before this, this accident, that's been a big part of your life. Where are you from? Tell me about growing up. What do you like to do? What were the big things that you were involved in as a kid?

Yeah, so I'm from a little place called Laurinburg, North Carolina. It's very southeast part of the state. And growing up, I mean, I have mom, dad and two younger sisters. And we're all extremely close. But baseball was a big part of our family, just because I was playing basically, every weekend and my sisters were going on the road to my tournaments. And so we really live for baseball. And both my parents went to East Carolina University. And I got an offer from there and my ninth grade year and committed round spot, because that's where I wanted to go. Just live in my family's legacy. And everything was going good. So committed very early on. And so baseball has been a huge part of our lives.

So it seems like baseball at a high school and college level. North Carolina is like the mecca of baseball. Why is that? I'm

not quite sure. I think good weather, mostly around has good facilities in the area. And I think it's just a sport that naturally draws kids in this area for a very young age and families kind of prioritize it with travel ball and rec ball. So maybe just the way the families view baseball, but I don't know, it's just I guess, natural for kids of a young age to draw closer to baseball Robins area. Also,

I'm biased. I want these Carolina as well. So I'm biased. And I think East Carolina is one of the best baseball programs in the country. But but there's objective reasons to believe that right? Yeah,

there's a there's definitely the facts that prove that they were they were right tip this past week had a rough weekend, drop two or three at University, San Antonio, Texas, and so worried I think fit. Now by I mean, still tight fit to the nation. For the one level, it's pretty phenomenal in

this program has been in that at that level for a long time is consistent. Yeah,

well, yeah, we're consistent. Each year, we're top 25 team. With just coach Colin and the coaching staff here in the fan base. It's pretty easy to get recruits just because if you came to a game here, you'd want to play here too. And so just the environment, the coaching staff, and just coaching here just provides each and every year and we're blessed to have somewhere like this to call home and easily drove kids to come in here.

Also, if you got if you're committed in the ninth grade, you got to have a pretty unbelievable resume coming into the ninth grade. Is that fair?

Yeah, I mean, I was I was good ballplayer. Now I was looking at one school and one school only. So as soon as they committed as carwash just pulled the trigger and went on with it. But I had other offers and other from other schools, but issues where I wanted to be, what's

the recruitment process look like for for high school? I mean, or I guess you're getting recruited Middle School? Really? What does that look like for, for a kid we everybody who, and most kids play some kind of sport growing up, right. And when you're playing those sports, my kids played and all and you're trying to you kind of envision and being recruited for college and, and playing in front of a college audience in the college crowd. And that seems like, you know, one of the most exciting things in the world. So what's that recruitment process? Like?

I mean, it's different for each sport. But I mean, it's exciting no matter what sport you play. I think now it's a little different from when I was getting recruited just because of they put new laws in place to where you can't get recruited until maybe your junior year of baseball. So it's definitely moved back up to what it was. But But while there was young, I mean, we were committing in ninth grade. I mean, I was very early command in general, but we were committing very young and so I mean, it was something he had to go through a process pretty early on, but now that it's back to junior year, I think it's probably a little bit better just because kids are more mature and they don't pull the trigger as fast because I was kind of a rare case where I knew I wanted to go. But I mean, there's a lot of people out there and I have no idea. And then once they get that first offer and ninth grader, so they, they jump on as to they do it and they end up decommissioning later on, and their process was definitely different. But it's exciting no matter what border what age you get recruited at. Will. So

when you get recruited East Carolina in the ninth grade, your tell me what your your vision is, your plan is at that point in time. Are you thinking, Okay, this is this is, you know, what, what position did you play? What do you what do you? What do you envision your future is going to look like at that point in time? Yeah,

I mean, starting very early on as a freshman was to go and that's what I thought was in plan. And I played really anywhere in the infield, besides first base, I was very versatile, quite short, second, or third, wherever you need me. But I'm kind of new with the ages of the current players, that shortstop position was going to be open once I got here. And so I was looking forward to playing short wherever they wanted me at the time. Everything was lining up. Great. Then

something happens in your life, which is unexpected. Can you talk to me about that? Yeah,

so we were here for summer school, in 2022. They're freshmen here on the baseball team, get Congressmember school, just get acclimated to the new environment, coaching staff, to the new baseball program that they're in, so they can learn summer school, everything's going great. And then we got a recruit mid summer, which was really rare because like I say, I come in ninth grade and other guys out here committed pretty early on Tuesday. Having a recruit kind of mid summer, going into your freshman year of college is very rare nowadays. And then so he came in and he was a hey, my family has a river house and bath North Carolina, which is about 40 minutes away from Greenville. And we should go there when we can we have a boat we have to we should just go and have a great time. So I sounds good. Just kind of blew him off for the rest of the summer. That was the last weekend of summer school. And I kept on and on and he's like, Hey, this goes weekend to me in flight for the teammates Carrasco. Let's give it a shot. He says great time to go on down there. So that Friday after our morning morning, three hundreds and workouts and all the hard work we did during the summer, we went down there just hanging out for the weekend. And Friday went great. And that started a morning I was supposed to take one of the guys back to Greenville because he was supposed to help an elderly couple of moose furture well, he got a text morning saying hey, miles, thanks for volunteer, but we don't really need your help anymore. So the guy was like, hey, just got back on to had a great time yesterday. So let's do it again. So we went back out the first year I went great, me and Dixon Williams, one of my teammates got on to first and for Charmin good fell off and getting back home because we had such a good time. And second round job was like, Hey, I'm gonna try to throw you guys off a little bit quicker as time. So what sounds good. So my addiction both end up falling off the tube pretty quickly hitting the water pretty hard. So we got to get back to his boat because we're in some pain right now. So we're swimming back to the boat. And I was ahead of Dixon at the top. And I was using the rope from the tube to help guide myself into the boat. As I got within 10 yards or so from the boat, the driver put the boat reverse or it got knocked into reverse somehow. And then I've run running me over with the boat and propelling both of my legs and my left hand as well.

Oh my goodness. What happened in was so I imagine first of all I've been in? So I've been on boats my whole life. And I can envision exactly the scenario that you're talking about. And it could happen to any one of us on either side of this story. What what happened? What happened next?

Yeah, so thankfully, right people, right, Tom? Miles, currently the guy that I was supposed to take back to Greenville, he was out of the end of the boat at the time. And he jumped in immediately because he had a friend back home in Florida died a very similar way and my buddy accident. So he knew that getting help was very urgent and they need to get me back onto the boat. So they helped guide me back onto the boat. And he was telling the guys rip off the shirts and try to get from a leg so they're doing that as they were trying to lay down other boats because our boat wasn't able to move the robot called the propeller. So there are other boats and first boat Stop, man. They're like a dress some situation and the boat was like Sorry, we can't really help we have kids on the boat. We don't want to expose them to the same. But here's the first aid kit. I just didn't really want to help. His legs were far from a band aid so they continue to weigh down other boats and the second boat stop and on that boat was two couples and always in their comeback in that day was because one of the couples had got into an argument and there are hiking too. Take me back to the marina, we're kind of done for the day, and we're just gonna get back home. So on the way back is to us and they stop. And they agreed to help. So they transport me on to that boat and all that but when the lady was a nurse, so this time more Chart control my legs with ropes that they had on their boat, as they were transported me to the marina there where there's an ambulance weighed on me, the ambulance took me to the local hospital, Washington, North Carolina, where there was a helicopter waiting on me to airlift me to Eastern Health here in variable. So once I got here, that restaurant right in the surgery, and that's where I began the first day of my four week stay here at ACL. Wow.

Okay, so in this, in this podcast, we sort of talk spend some time talking about this moment, when, after some kind of event like this happens, then your family and doctors and nurses and medical people, and the first thing is just a rush, to try to save your life and make sure that you're going to live right at some point that becomes stable. And then you go, Okay, I'm gonna live and then at some point, all those people sort of leave and you're, you're there for the first time on your own. In that room, maybe that first night, when, after things subside a little bit. And you're sort of left, you know, with your thoughts. And for you, you're envisioning before that playing baseball at a top 20 or top 10 school in the country. Lots of kids from that program, go on to play in the Major League Baseball, you got your whole world sort of mapped out for you, you know, and then something like this happens, what's going through your head that when in those first few moments that you're in those first few hours, you're alone, after something like this happens? Yeah, um,

luckily, I have a really good support system and my family that were there, really the whole way. And with hospital rules at a time, only one person could be in a hospital room and ICU and two people per day. So I was kind of saying my mom and dad, mom and dad over and over, just because of the hospital rules. And they were they're really all the time. Because I mean, when something like this happens to your kid, you can't drop your world. And so they're there to support me, and let me know that anything's possible. And at first, my late My accident happened on July 23. And at first they didn't know where the sciatic nerve was, but they were able to keep the bleeding to stop, then they felt a sigh of nerves, a couple surgeries later, and I thought my leg was gonna be fine that both of my legs are gonna heal up and with some extensive rehab, I'd get back onto the field, get back with that top 20 program and a nation and be able to contribute. And these kinds of staff are always second, my right foot became really pale and cold, which was never able to move during these days, it's just a thought just due to the swelling and the initial accident that it wasn't able to move at time. But it come back and moving will be okay. But it was never able to move and it became really pale and cold. Both of my parents have a medical background. My dad's a pediatrician, and my mom's a nurse, they kind of knew that it wasn't very good at all. And so always forth, I came into the room that morning and said, Hey, we have two options. We can either empty your leg with low your knee, or we can continue this mess and we had your own nail which isn't really working and you will basically end up dying and your kidneys and liver will shut down and he'll be dead. And so I was I just cut it off and keep moving in life. So I mean, there's definitely some moments where I was by myself and I kind of was very confused, I would say confusing why it happened to me what was really going on and how my future would be just because there has never been an individual player to play with prosthetic legs, especially as meditation. There were some moments there where I was having doubt seven times is a lot of questions of how I was going to do life. But when I was telling my mom and I told her I was like Mom, I don't think I'll ever be able to play baseball game. She was like, Why you say that? And I was like well, it's never been division one player to play with a prosthetic leg and she said without hesitation or questions she goes well it always has to be a first why can it be used california mobile all I really had a positive outlook on it and realize that there does always have to be a first first year walking maybe.

Thank you for joining us and we'll see you next time.

Ask a Question,
Describe Your Situation,
Request a Consultation

PPC Contact Form Side Bar
* Required Fields
Your Information Is Safe With Us
We respect your privacy. The information you provide will be used to answer your question or to schedule an appointment if requested.

Hours of operation

Open: 24/7
Speaks Law Firm is recognized by National Attorney ranking services for excellence in the fields of auto injury and workers’ compensation in North Carolina.
Copyright © 2024. Speaks Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Law Firm Marketing Pros
Follow Us
twitter
Authentic Reviews | Write A ReviewAuthentic Reviews | Read Our Reviews

Hours of operation

Open: 24/7
Speaks Law Firm is recognized by National Attorney ranking services for excellence in the fields of auto injury and workers’ compensation in North Carolina.
Copyright © 2024. Speaks Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.
Our Personal Injury Law Firm Office in Wilmington, NCSitemap
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship