Auburn gymnast Samantha Cerio has joined the ranks of the NFL’s Joe Theismann and Alex Smith ― and that’s not a good thing.
The athlete was competing Friday at an NCAA regional semifinal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when a blind landing in her floor routine went horribly wrong, ending her career as a gymnast.
WARNING: The video below is graphic and is really difficult to watch. Her floor routine begins at 39:17.
Cerio’s limbs bent in directions they should not, dislocating her knees and tearing multiple ligaments, her coach, Jeff Graba, told HuffPost later Monday. An earlier Times-Picayune report said that Cerio had also broken both legs, but her coach said her bones had not broken.
Cerio was to undergo surgery on Monday, Graba said.
“Sam is a fighter and is in great spirits,” he said in a statement.
The accident brings to mind the grotesque injuries sustained by Theismann and Smith decades apart on television, although two those had their bones snapped like twigs.
Cerio, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering who has a post-graduation job lined up with Boeing, managed to maintain an amazingly upbeat attitude afterward.
On Instagram, she credited her sport with teaching her hard work and dedication. “It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned,” she wrote.
Sunday on Twitter, she thanked well-wishers and said she was “doing well.”
This article has been updated with comments from Auburn gymnastics coach Jeff Graba on Cerio’s condition.