BALTIMORE — City leaders will vote next week to approve a $345,000 settlement with the parents of Elijah Gorham, the Mergenthaler High School football player who died after a head injury during a game last fall.
Baltimore City and City Schools have agreed to pay $345,000 to James Gorham Jr., and Shantres Shaw in exchange for the family releasing all claims against the mayor, city council, and city school board, according to the agenda item for the city's Board of Estimates.
The Board of Estimates is scheduled to vote on the item at its April 20 meeting.
According to the agenda: "On September 18, 2021, Elijah played football for MERVO [Mergenthaler High School] in a game against Dunbar. The game took place on the football field at Baltimore Polytechnic High School. During what appeared to be a routine and clean play in the endzone, Elijah and the defender from Dunbar both ran at full speed to catch a pass from the MERVO quarterback. Both athletes leapt for the football, and Elijah, unable to break his fall with his hands, was driven into the ground face-first by the momentum of the play, with the defender landing on top of him. Elijah did not immediately get up. After some time on the ground, he stood up on his own, appeared conscious, and began to walk back to his team’s sideline. Shortly thereafter, he collapsed and began seizing near the 10-yard line marker, until he became unconscious. Elijah was taken by ambulance to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. He subsequently passed away on October 11, 2021 from cardiac arrest."
Elijah's sudden death stunned the Mervo community last year. Hundreds gathered at a vigil to honor the 17-year-old football player, Advanced Placement scholar and aspiring photographer; he was also memorialized at a special weekend service on the football field.
In December, the Mervo Mustangs carried Elijah's No. 7 jersey onto the field when they won the state championships - the first state football championship in Mervo's history.
A state bill labelled the "Elijah Gorham Act" was passed by the General Assembly this year; it requires Maryland middle schools and high schools to make specific emergency plans for student athletics.