Warning: Distressing Content
A gymnast who dislocated both knees and tore multiple ligaments in a horror fall on Friday (April 5) looked in good spirits just hours before she underwent surgery.
Samantha Cerio was competing in an NCAA gymnastics regional event and had just started her routine when she landed hard, resulting in both legs buckling beneath her and causing the life-changing injuries.
Initial reports suggested that Cerio, 22, had broken both of her legs and dislocated both knees, but the possibility of broken legs was ruled out after initial testing at the hospital.
WARNING: This video contains content some viewers may find distressing:
The gymnast was making her first pass and was attempting a handspring double front with a blind landing when she landed badly and fell to the mat, reports Nola.com.
Cerio could be seen screaming in agony after the fall, clutching both her legs on the floor before medical staff rushed to her aid.
The gymnast, from Huntersville, North Carolina, had Aircasts on both legs as she left the arena, and received a standing ovation as she was stretchered away by medical staff.
Her coach Jeff Graba, who said he had never seen an injury like Cerio’s before in his 30+ years of coaching, confirmed the gymnast was having surgery yesterday (April 8) in a statement posted to Twitter.
Emphasising that Cerio was ‘in great spirits,’ her coach also thanked Auburn and Louisiana State University (LSU) medical staff for the ‘outstanding care’ they have provided to the 22-year-old.
Sam is a fighter and is in great spirits. We couldn’t have a better leader for this team.
Also visiting the gymnast’s bedside was LSU President F. King Alexander, who tweeted a picture with Cerio as she sat up smiling from her hospital bed.
I had the opportunity to visit @AuburnGym’s @sam_cerio this weekend. What a wonderful, inspiring young lady. I have no doubt she will overcome this injury and go on to do amazing things. pic.twitter.com/K3l79QYNDZ
— F. King Alexander (@lsuprez) April 8, 2019
The 22-year-old later thanked Alexander for his support, adding that LSU have been ‘so kind and supportive’ throughout the incident.
King Alexander wrote:
I had the opportunity to visit @AuburnGym’s @sam_cerio this weekend. What a wonderful, inspiring young lady. I have no doubt she will overcome this injury and go on to do amazing things.
Cerio has since revealed Friday was her final night as a gymnast, taking to social media to announce her retirement.
Telling fans she ‘couldn’t be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me become,’ the gymnast said although her career may not have ended as she planned, ‘nothing ever goes as planned’.
View this post on Instagram
Friday night was my final night as a gymnast. After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind. I couldn’t be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become. It’s taught me hard work, humility, integrity, and dedication, just to name a few. It’s given me challenges and road blocks that I would have never imagined that has tested who I am as a person. It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned. Thank you Auburn family for giving me a home and a chance to continue doing the sport that will always be my first love. I am honored to have had the privilege to represent the navy and orange AU for the past 4 years with my team by my side. Thank you for letting me share my passion with you. Thank you for letting me be a part of something bigger than myself. War Eagle Always 💙🧡
Cerio is due to get married to long term partner Trey Wood in June, with the couple announcing their engagement in November last year.
We hope Samantha has a full recovery.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).