A senior gymnast from Auburn University had to be carted out in a stretcher from an NCAA gymnastics regional event on Friday after a serious leg injury during her floor routine.
Samantha Cerio was making her first pass at the Baton Rouge Regional, attempting a handspring double front with a blind landing when she made the hard landing and fell to the mat.
“It was pretty tough to watch,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba said after the meet, according to Nola.com. “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.”
Cerio was reportedly screaming in agony on the floor and clutching both her legs before she was tended to by medical staff and athletic trainers.
Auburn officials have not given a specific update on Cerio’s injuries, but Nola.com reported Cerio dislocated both of her knees and broke both of her legs.
Warning: Footage is gruesome
Paramedics placed air casts around both her legs and carried the 5-foot senior from Huntersville, N.C., out on a stretcher amid a standing ovation from fans, The Advocate reported.
Cerio, who focuses on the floor and the bars, was recently named an SEC co-scholar athlete of the year, according to the Auburn Tigers website.
The team finished the Friday night competition with an overall score of 197.075, the highest regional score in program history, to advance to the regional final on Saturday night. That drew Cerio to share her thoughts on Twitter, writing, “I love my team #WarEagle.”
The team rallied around Cerio’s injury, with the hashtag “#StickItForSam” before the final on Saturday night.
Graba told the Advocate she was the “heart and soul” of the team.
“We wanted more than anything to do this for her,” he said.
Even with rallying around their injured teammate, the gymnastics team ended up coming up short during the regional finals on Saturday, finishing fourth, according to the Auburn Tigers website.
“I think we were out of gas,” Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said after the final. “Emotionally spent. But I thought the girls fought hard. They did a great job.”