Star Gymnast Dies After Slipping Off Uneven Bars
An accomplished gymnast at Southern Connecticut State University in the United States has died following a serious spinal cord injury suffered in a training accident.
Melanie Coleman, aged 20, of Milford, Connecticut, was training on Saturday at New Era Gymnastics in Hamden when she was injured, said her mother, Susan Coleman.
Coleman suffered the spinal injury after slipping off the uneven bars and was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and died on Monday.
Coleman was a former All State gymnast at Jonathan Law High School in Milford and was captain of the school's gymnastics team.
She was named a Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American this year.
Her former club coach, Tom Alberti, said she attained a level 10, the highest level in the USA Junior Olympics Program.
She was a junior studying nursing and was following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, her mother said.
"She's from a very large, loving family; there's seven of us, we were the Coleman seven," Susan Coleman said.
"We spent every day together for the past 20 years."
Coleman volunteered at the gym where her accident occurred.
Her coaches and professors described her as a special young woman who excelled in both the classroom and gym.
"Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends on this tragic loss," college President Joe Berolino said in a written statement.
People the family has met by traveling to gymnastics events around the country are giving support that is 'holding us up'," Coleman's mother said.
She described her children, which also include two sons older than Melanie, as "inseparable."
"We're going to leave an empty space in our photos for her from now on", Susan Coleman said.
Friends told WFSB-TV they were stunned by the news.
"When I found out about the news, it kind of hurt my heart because it's like, damn, she's a really good person. To hear that happen, I feel bad," said Sharayad Letellier, Coleman's friend.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Coleman.