Samantha Cerio, a gymnast from Auburn University, broke both of her legs and dislocated both of her knees in a shocking incident on Friday.
The gymnast hailing from North Carolina was competing with her team the Auburn Tigers, in a semi-final in Baton Rouge.
Cerio was attempting a handspring double front flip on her first pass, which requires a blind landing, when she landed heavily before falling to the ground in agony.
Jeff Graba, who has coached the Tigers for nine seasons, spoke to nola.com after the event and described what it was like watching the incident firsthand.
“It was pretty tough to watch,” Graba admitted. “She’s a trooper. The last thing she said was, ‘Go help the girls.’
“The girls rallied around her. They’re doing this for her right now.
“I gave her a hug, told her I hugged her before she left and said we’d catch back up tonight.”
Watch the horrific moment below (skip to 39:00) -
The coach of Louisiana State University’s team D-D Breaux, spoke of how “upsetting” the incident was, while describing how the doctor’s reacted “with lightning speed” as soon as the severity of the injury was realised.
Cerio was given a standing ovation from the whole arena as she carried away, with air casts on both of her legs.
Although the extent of the injury was unknown initially, Cerio has since taken to social media to devastatingly announce that the event in Baton Rouge was, in fact, her last.
Referencing the injury, Cerio points out “It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned.”
The rest of the Tiger’s team used their teammate’s injury as inspiration, with senior gymnast Abby Milliet giving a heartfelt speech before the final.
“'Y’all. I know we want to feel sad for Sam right now, but this is not what she would have wanted.
“Sam has put everything into this and she’s going to want us to give everything. This is our new fire.”
The team finished with a score of 197.075 on Friday, beating the regional record, but fell short in the finals, finishing fourth.
Everyone will be wishing Cerio a speedy recovery.