Blind sports commentator breaking barriers for people with different abilities
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - When Bryce Weiler puts on his headset and speaks into the microphone, he’s able to paint a picture of whatever game is in front of him, even though he can’t see the action.
“I’ve listened to thousands of games, so I know what a broadcaster does, how he or she commentates, if they tell stories, if they don’t track,” Weiler said.
Bryce Weiler says he was born blind, but he carries with him a passion for America’s favorite pastime, so he’s able to rattle off stats between plays - providing a perspective you just can’t get from watching the game alone.
Wednesday evening, he was invited by the Richmond Flying Squirrels to commentate their matchup against the Akron RubberDucks.
Broadcasters like Marco LeNave give Weiler the play-by-play.
“He relies on me to give him a visual description of everything that’s happening... but he has to be very attuned to what I’m saying for him to be able to add that commentary that adds color,” LeNave said.
“The knowledge of the players is important, but the knowledge of the broadcasters is the most important because of what they like to do and what they like to talk about because it’s important to really go off of that,” Weiler said.
Weiler has commentated countless games, but he doesn’t want to be a novelty, rather he wants the same doors to be open for all people with different abilities.
“If there were more broadcasters who would let people with disabilities come on the radio, whether they may be blind or have a learning disability or have autism, you’d probably see more people with disabilities broadcast games.
Richmond Flying Squirrels was just the latest team to give him his shot in the press box.
“Bryce has an incredible ability to memorize stats and stories, and all these different things to contribute to what we’re doing in a broadcast,” said Squirrels Communication Director Trey Wilson. “He has a passion for sports, but it goes well beyond sports, he’s an advocate for people with a lot of disabilities.”
“They don’t care if I can see or not, but they want to give me that chance to be able to broadcast with them, and that means so much to me to be able to do that because so often I’ve not had that happen to me,” Weiler said.
But Weiler says this is more than just a game or a dream gig. He believes his work is a platform to continue advocating for those who’ve had opportunities denied to them.
“I know that I, and everyone else in the world, can change people who have disabilities’ lives, or even if you don’t have a disability by giving people opportunities that others may not give to them,” Wieler said.
Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.
Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.