Samantha Cerio never thought her career as a college gymnast would end like this.
Cerio, a senior at Auburn, was in the middle of her floor exercise when she injured both legs during Friday's NCAA Regional Semifinal meet with LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
While attempting to make a blind landing on a tumbling pass, Cerio landed badly and clutched both legs as she lay on the mat.
The meet was stopped as paramedics put air casts around both her legs. She received a standing ovation from the more than 5,500 fans at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center as she was carted off on a stretcher.
Cerio dislocated both knees and broke both legs, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, citing sources with preliminary knowledge of the injuries,
On Sunday, Cerio announced on Instagram that Friday was her "final night as a gymnast."
"It may not have ended the way I had planned," Cerio wrote, "but nothing ever goes as planned."
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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. 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 ??
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Without Cerio, Auburn (49.350) went on to advance over Arizona State (195.425) and George Washington (194.675).
“It was pretty tough to watch,” Auburn coach Jeff Graba told the New Orleans 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.”
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