Bryce Weiler is a sports commentator, co-founder of the Beautiful Lives Project, and an accessibility consultant for the Baltimore Orioles. He earned a Bachelor's in communications and sports management from the University of Evansville and a Master's degree in sports administration. Born four months premature, he developed retinopathy and lost his sight as his retinas detached a few days after birth.
Bryce grew up listening to sports on the radio but never imagined himself capable of commentating games. This changed during his time at Evansville where he had the opportunity to broadcast on the student radio station. The basketball coach allowed him to sit on the bench during games to experience them. He would shoot free throws before games with someone clapping underneath the net to guide him, and he learned how to track the ball by its various sounds against the net or backboard.
Commentating was never the hard part. He worked with a play-by-play broadcaster who would run the score board. Meanwhile, he would come prepared with memorized knowledge of player stats and any other relevant information. For basketball, a mic on the net can allow him to hear the ball. For baseball or softball, a crowd mic behind home plate can relay the umpire calling a hit or a strike. This way, he has successfully commentated hundreds of games.
His largest obstacle has been the expectations of other people and their unwillingness to trust in his abilities, even with a full catalog of video proof. After his work attracted media coverage, he could no longer disguise his blindness, and potential employers lost interest. Despite the pushback, Bryce continues his exceptional work, hoping to break down barriers for those who would follow in his footsteps.
The Beautiful Lives Project
Bryce co-founded the Beautiful Lives Project with the aim of giving people with disabilities opportunities to experience sports, art, cheerleading, dance, and other activities across the country. These free community events are open to adults and children with any disability, setting them apart from more specialized programs. The aim is not only to provide experiences, but to give participants access to community support and friendship.
Bryce's life changed when that coach at Evansville opened a door for him, and he hopes to open more doors in return. He gives speeches at high schools, colleges, and companies about the importance of hiring people with disabilities and the need for accessible websites and social media.