Auburn University gymnast Samantha Cerio, who severely injured both legs during a routine, had a successful surgery.
“Sam’s surgery lasted two and a half hours and was an extreme success,” Auburn coach Jeff Garba wrote on Twitter. “We know the road for full healing is going to be a long and difficult one, but we are confident that she’ll be able to make a complete recovery.”
Last week, Cerio was trying to perform a floor routine during a competition in Baton Rouge, Louisana, when she reportedly dislocated her knees. Despite reports that she broke her legs, there were no broken bones but only torn ligaments, The Associated Press reported.
“Sam’s surgery lasted two and a half hours and was an extreme success.
We know the road for full healing is going to be a long and difficult one, but we are confident that she’ll be able to make a complete recovery.”
— Coach Jeff Graba (@CoachJeffGraba) April 9, 2019
Paramedics rushed to help the 22-year-old as she screamed in pain.
Garba noted that in several decades of coaching gymnastics, he’d never seen an injury like her’s, saying it was “tough to watch,” NOLA.com reported.
“She’s a trooper,” coach Graba said. “The last thing she said was, ‘Go help the girls.’ The girls rallied around her. They’re doing this for her right now.”
I had the opportunity to visit @AuburnGym’s @sam_cerio this weekend. What a wonderful, inspiring young lady. I have no doubt she will overcome this injury and go on to do amazing things. pic.twitter.com/K3l79QYNDZ
— F. King Alexander (@lsuprez) April 8, 2019
Days later, Cerio announced her retirement 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,” she wrote.
Cerio added: “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.”
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“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,” she also wrote.
According to Today.com, Graba said Cerio’s goal is to walk down the aisle with her fiance.
“She wants to walk down the aisle and get married, and we’re hoping she can do that,” he said.
— New York Post (@nypost) April 8, 2019
Elaborating further, Graba said Friday night was “one of the toughest nights of my life.”
“I told her that I loved her and that I was with her, and she said to go back and get the girls ready to finish this thing,” he said.
The Auburn Tigers website says that Cerio has already accepted a job in Seattle, and she will work as a structural design analysis engineer at Boeing. In March, she was named SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.