On February 2, Oakland Mills High School hosted Hammond High School in their second rivalry game of the year, the former of which the Scorpions lost by ten points. The stakes were high, but both teams wore the same “93 strong” shirts for warm-ups, displaying unity for Larry Aaron, who was hit in the thoracic spine by a stray bullet on New Year’s Eve leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
The Dome on Kilimanjaro hosted a sold-out crowd who watched as Aaron made a surprise appearance and helped introduce the starting lineup for the Scorpions. “Seeing Larry come out in the gym will be a moment everyone there will remember. It touched the hearts of all and brought tears to some. Game aside, one team won that night, and it was the team to help Larry on his journey to recovery,” says Junior Kerry Browne, manager of the varsity basketball team at Oakland Mills.
Larry Aaron graduated from Oakland Mills in 2016 and went on to play football for Marshall University on a full athletic scholarship. He was a two-year varsity defensive tackle for the OM football team, and a three-year varsity center for the basketball team. As a big part of the OM athletic community, Aaron left a lasting impression on students and staff which inspired everyone to help support his recovery.
The 68-55 win over Hammond was not the only cause for celebration, the game raised about $1,800 in concessions alone for Aaron’s medical fund, which is paired with the nearly $34,000 dollars raised through GoFundMe. Former Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith also donated $5,000 via rally.org, saying “I’m not a big fan of these types of sites but sometimes it tugs at my heart and I feel obligated to help. Much respect to this young king!”
Troy Stevenson, athletic director at OM, organized the benefit for Aaron, saying the game morphed from a traditional fundraiser to something much more than that. “The first part of it was to raise money. Then, it turned into awareness for what happened when we got support from so many other schools. When I found out he was going to be here, it turned into a tribute. Hopefully with the amount of press that was there we can foster more donations and get more alumni to help him. It’s not over, the game is over but the helping of the family is not over.” In addition, Marshall University will honor Aaron’s full scholarship whenever he decides to return to school.