HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Oakland Mills will honor former standout athlete Larry Aaron at its home basketball game against Hammond on Friday, Feb. 2.
Aaron, who played football and basketball for the Scorpions, is now paralyzed after a stray bullet struck him at a New Year’s Eve party in Severn. He had just finished his freshman football season at Marshall University and was back in Maryland on winter break when the tragedy occurred.
In response to the accident, Oakland Mills and Hammond decided to turn their Feb. 2 matchup into a benefit game for the Aaron family. The Scorpions boosters club will be selling “93 Strong” T-shirts — the same number Aaron wore for the Thundering Herd — and all proceeds, along with concession stand sales, will be used to benefit Aaron in his recovery process.
“Larry Aaron is a great kid, great athlete, [and comes from a] great family,” Hammond athletics and activities manager Mike Lerner said. “I was excited to find out that they were going to do that with our game. It’s always a good crowd, and obviously we’re rivals, but we’re friends and everyone gets along. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Lerner said Golden Bears coach Mike Salapata, who used to coach the Oakland Mills junior varsity team, and his staff will wear the “93 Strong” T-Shirts during the game to show support.
“It’s always a big event when we play them, and I would imagine we’ll probably sell out,” Oakland Mills athletics and activities manager Troy Stevenson said. “T-Shirts will be flying for a good cause.”
Scorpions head Jon Browne, meanwhile. gushed about Aaron and his family and how they’ve impacted the program over the years. Aaron, a three-year varsity player, was an integral part of the team’s 2015 state championship run, and even after graduating the following year, he frequently has returned to see his former squad. Just before the shooting, Browne said Aaron attended several practices and was at both of the Scorpions’ Christmas tournament contests.
His mother was there, too, volunteering at the concession stand both game days despite no longer having a kid in the program.
“I love that kid so much. I love his family,” Browne said. “They do so much for us. They always have.”