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College student gymnast breaks both legs in NCAA competition

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College student gymnast breaks both legs in NCAA competition

College student gymnast breaks both legs in NCAA competition

College student gymnast breaks both legs in NCAA competition

An Auburn University gymnast broke both legs while performing at a NCAA regional event in Louisiana.

Auburn University senior Samantha Cerio stared intently at the purple floor exercise mat before her. The lights of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge reflected off the gymnast’s bedazzled white, navy and orange leotard. As her teammates cheered raucously, the 22-year-old flashed a quick smile and waltzed out to kick off her floor routine, hoping to deliver a flawless performance and help the Auburn Tigers secure a spot in the NCAA women’s gymnastics region final.

But within a matter of seconds, Cerio would be on the floor in agony, her nearly two-decades-long gymnastics career brought to a jarring end by what some have called the “worst sport injury” they’ve ever seen.

Cerio dislocated both knees and tore multiple ligaments in both knees on Friday after attempting to blindly stick a tumbling pass, meaning she couldn’t see the ground before landing, according to Jeff Graba, Auburn’s women’s gymnastics coach. While reports first suggested that both her legs were broken, Graba said on Monday that no bones were shattered in the fall. Cerio was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday afternoon.

Auburn University senior Samantha Cerio stared intently at the purple floor exercise mat before her. The lights of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge reflected off the gymnast’s bedazzled white, navy and orange leotard. As her teammates cheered raucously, the 22-year-old flashed a quick smile and waltzed out to kick off her floor routine, hoping to deliver a flawless performance and help the Auburn Tigers secure a spot in the NCAA women’s gymnastics region final.

But within a matter of seconds, Cerio would be on the floor in agony, her nearly two-decades-long gymnastics career brought to a jarring end by what some have called the “worst sport injury” they’ve ever seen.

Cerio dislocated both knees and tore multiple ligaments in both knees on Friday after attempting to blindly stick a tumbling pass, meaning she couldn’t see the ground before landing, according to Jeff Graba, Auburn’s women’s gymnastics coach. While reports first suggested that both her legs were broken, Graba said on Monday that no bones were shattered in the fall. Cerio was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough to watch,” Auburn’s coach, Jeff Graba told Times-Picayune. “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.”

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