AN American gymnast who dislocated both of her knees in a horror accident while competing has undergone surgery – less than two months from her wedding.
Gruesome footage showed Sam Cerio, 22, collapsing in pain as she landed a flip during a complex floor routine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Friday.
The Auburn University senior attempted a handspring double front flip with a blind landing before falling awkwardly on the mat and suffering the career-ending injury.
The aerospace engineering student was attempting her first pass at the Baton Rouge Regional before her floor routine ended in tragedy.
While performing the handspring double she fell on the blind landing, dislocating both her legs.
She was seen grabbing her knees in agony – leaving the stunned crowd in silence.
The gymnast screamed in pain before medical staff and athletic trainers rallied towards her to offer treatment.
Tragically, Sam later announced her retirement from the sport in a moving Instagram post.
Her coach Jeff Graba said that she was due to undergo surgery for multiple ligament damage in her knees on Monday.
She is hoping to fully recover before her wedding in June to her fiance Trey Wood in Fairhope, Alabama.
In an emotional Instagram post announcing her retirement from the sport, Sam wrote: “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.
I couldn’t be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become
US gymnast Sam Cerio
“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.”
BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD
Auburn finished the night with the highest regional score in program history, advancing to the regional finals on Saturday.
But they finished fourth in the last stage of the tournament, behind Louisiana, Minnesota and Utah, failing to reach the nationals.
Auburn coach Mr Graba said after the event: “It was pretty tough to watch.
“She’s a trouper. 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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“We wanted more than anything to do this for her.”
Cerio was named SEC co-scholar athlete of the year and will graduate this year with an engineering degree.
She is also taking up a job at Boeing in Seattle after her wedding.