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Star college gymnast suffers gruesome leg injuries during floor routine, then retires from sport

A senior gymnast at Auburn University appeared to break both legs during her floor routine over the weekend. Samantha Cerio was competing at the NCAA gymnastics regional final in Baton Rouge before her gruesome injury, which left audience members in shock. 

Cerio, who earned all SEC honors in 2017 and 2018, was on the first pass of her floor routine Friday when she took the devastating tumble. Video of the injury shows she landed awkwardly on her legs after flipping through the air. Medical staff and trainers were treating her for almost ten minutes before she was ultimately carted off the floor. The crowd gave her a standing ovation as she left. 

Ranked No. 13 in the nation, Auburn rallied for Cerio on Friday and advanced to the championship round after finishing with a score of 197.075 – second behind host LSU. The team, however, was knocked out if the next day. 

"She's the heart and soul of the team," head coach Jeff Graba said of Cerio. "This is what she's poured into the team for four years now."

A team spokesperson wasn't able to comment on Cerio's injury, but told CBS News that she is having surgery on Monday. 

Cerio, who majors in engineering, announced in an Instagram post Sunday that she's leaving the sport after almost two decades. She also thanked her followers on Twitter for supporting her.

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 💙🧡

A post shared by Samantha Cerio (@sam_cerio) on

"After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind couldn't be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become," she wrote. "It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned."

"I truly appreciate all of the support and prayers that I have have received! I am doing well right now and getting lots of rest!"


The video below shows Sam Cerio's injury. The footage may be graphic for some. 

NCAA Women's Gymnastics Athens Regional 2019 : LSU, Auburn, Arizona State, George Washington by jjtortelli on YouTube