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Bill inspired by death of Elijah Gorham aims to ensure medical aide at sporting events

Posted at 7:07 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 19:08:16-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Elijah Gorham was a dedicated athlete and a college-bound senior at Mervo High when he tragically died during a football game in October of last year.

Lawmakers in Annapolis want to make sure that doesn't happen again.

RELATED: 'He's very much loved and going to be missed': Mervo coach remembers Elijah Gorham

A bill, which carries his name was introduced this week. The bill would require high schools to have defibrillators handy for all sporting events.

Also, the bill would require schools to have some emergency plan together and practice that plan.

Senator Shelly Hettleman of Baltimore County is sponsoring the bill.

"The institutions have to rehearse emergency action plans," she said. "They have to have well thought out plans, so that in the event of an emergency everybody knows what they need to do, where they need to go and they can spring into action quickly."

Like in any emergency there is fear and confusion. Senator Hettleman says being prepared is critical.

"There are allegations that folks didn't know exactly what should be done, who should be doing what and the response was potentially inadequate," Hettleman said. "So we want to make sure that never happens again."

Many high schools have a generic emergency plan already, but there are several sports happening at once and each sport has their own emergency needs.

"What happens if something happens on the field hockey field or on the football field, there may be a gate there," she continued. "Who has a key to unlock the gate, who's gonna be the contact person to call the EMT and to let them in and to pave the way for them to get to the field."

Jordan McNair died during a University of Maryland's football practice. His parents, Marty McNair and Tonya Wilson attended the hearing along with Elijah Gorham's mother.

McNair knows all to well that in an emergency, that's not the time to try and figure things out.

"That's why coaches, that's why athletic trainers have to have to practice it consistently because every time you walk out on that field something can happen and you want to be prepared," McNair said.