ELDERSBURG — First it was a football injury that cut short Paul Marcum's dream ofplaying football.
But after surgery and an extensive rehabilitation program, the 1991 graduate of South Carroll High School hoped to resume the sport in college, said Ken Parker, his coach at South Carroll High in Winfield.
That dream ended late Monday night when Marcum drowned near the Route 32 bridge over Liberty Reservoir between Gamber and Eldersburg.
State police said the accident occurred at 11:48 p.m. while Marcumand five friends were swimming at the reservoir.
The group was swimming under the Route 32 bridge when the
18-year-old Mount Airy resident slipped under the water.
Police reports said Marcum's friends noticed he was missing when they reached shore.
Some of them got into a car and went looking for help.
They found State Police Tfc. David Jones at a traffic stop about eight miles from the reservoir, police said.
Jones, the investigating officer, reported the youths were drinking alcohol at the time of the accident.
At about 12:30 p.m., the first diver from the Gamber Volunteer Fire Co. found Marcum's body in about 20 feet of water approximately 50 yards from theshore, said diver Ron Green.
Green, who was suited up and waitingto start diving, said fellow diver Joe Joyave found the body quicklybecause a girl in the group pointed out the last place she saw Marcum in the water.
Green said the diving team tried to revive Marcum through cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Marcum's heart had stopped beating by the time he was pulled from the water, the paramedic said.
Marcum was pronounced dead at Carroll County General Hospital in Westminster at 1:13 a.m., police said.
School officials rememberedMarcum as enthusiastic and called his death shocking.
"Paul was very friendly, open, social," said Ted Jump, an assistant principal atSouth Carroll who knew Marcum because the student worked as an aide in the school's main office. "He was a nice young man who had a lot of friends and a lot of smiles."
Jump said he believed many of the students would be stunned by Marcum's death.
"Young people don't believe they are going to die," said Jump. "Especially when it's an accidental, sudden death.
Marcum was unable to play football during his junior year after knee surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament, Parker said. He came back at the start of the 1990 season andplayed in parts of four games.
But after further knee problems developed, Marcum, his parents and surgeon Sam Matz concluded that he shouldn't play for the rest of his senior year, Parker said.
"Marcum did a good job," Parker said of the running back. "We could not replace him."
Although he played less than half a season, Marcum's 384 yards rushing was more than double that of the team's next best ball carrier.
"He had a great attitude," Parker said. "(The drowning is) a real shock."
Parker said he and his wife, Nancy, had last talked to Marcum at the senior's graduation party two weeks ago.
"I was so glad I went to his graduation party," Parker said.
The coach said Marcum had hoped to attend a community college this year and to continue to rehabilitate his knee, then enroll in a four-year school and play football.