Samantha Cerio, a senior gymnast for the University of Auburn, suffered a gruesome injury at the NCAA Regional Semifinal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Cerio was performing the floor exercise when things went terribly wrong.
Cerio was attempting to pull off a handspring double front on her first pass and came down awkwardly on her blind landing.
The 5-foot Huntersville, North Carolina native suffered severe injuries two both legs — dislocating both knees and breaking both legs — and left the arena on a stretcher with air casts on each leg.
It was a brutal scene to see as medical staff tended to Cerio for nearly 8-minutes before the competition resumed.
“It was pretty tough to watch,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba said, according to the 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.
“I gave her a hug, told her I hugged her before she left and said we’d catch back up tonight.”
Cerio was recently named an SEC co-scholar athlete of the year and is majoring in aerospace engineering and will be graduating in May. She has already accepted a job to work for Boeing in Seattle, according to the school’s official website.
Warning: Extremely GRAPHIC Footage
Following her injury, Cerio issued a heartfelt statement on her Instagram account.
“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,” she wrote.
“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”