In 2019, gymnast Samantha Cerio made an awkward landing, injuring both knees and breaking her legs, after which she had to undergo surgery and a lengthy recovery.
On April 5, 2019, audiences at the NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge watched in horror as 22-year-old gymnast Samantha Cerio landed awkwardly at the end of her training routine.
Cerio’s disastrous landing resulted in bilateral knee dislocation and leg fractures, an injury that Dr. Benton Emblom would later describe as “a 100-year storm,” something neither he nor his colleagues had ever seen before.
Cerio’s success was crowned by a job offer from Boeing in Seattle, where he will work on structural design analysis of rockets
Cerio had to undergo a lengthy procedure and was told to expect a painful and prolonged healing. But what the doctors didn’t count on was Cerio’s determination and his ability to work hard.
The same unyielding will and resilience that had made her one of the best contenders in the fiercely competitive world of gymnastics came into play. Cerio had good reason to get back on his feet long before the doctors’ more optimistic predictions, and he set about doing so.
Cerio’s first goal was to walk to graduation. The gifted gymnast is no less brilliant as a student and graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University in Alabama. A month after his injury, Cerio attended his graduation and received his sweaty diploma on his feet, albeit with the support of crutches.
It was more than doctors thought possible, and Cerio’s achievement was crowned with a job offer from Boeing in Seattle, where he will work on the structural design analysis of the rockets.
It could be that one of these days we will see Cerio reach for the stars at NASA. With her determination and willpower, it’s hard to imagine that anything she addresses to is beyond her reach.
Today was a good day 👩🎓
– Auburn gymnastics (@AuburnGym) May 5, 2019
WALKING THROUGH THE CORRIDOR
Cerio had another, equally pressing reason to get up quickly, and also to take off those crutches. The gymnast had set a date for the wedding and was determined to walk that lane to the man she loved on her lap, wearing her perfect satin slippers. Just two months after his injury, in June 2019, Cerio did just that.
Wearing an adorable and elegant full-length satin dress, Cerio walked down the aisle to her fiance, Joseph Wood, on the arm of her proud dad. Wood, who had been there by his side every step of the way through the grueling challenge of surgery and subsequent therapy, couldn’t have seemed more proud of his lovely bride.
Brilliant Cerio enjoyed her father and daughter’s prom at the reception and had her first romantic dance with her husband. What so many brides take for granted was a huge milestone for Cerio. After the wedding, Cerio and Wood left for Hawaii on their honeymoon, after which the former gymnast began her new job at Boeing.
One thing that shocked Cerio is that the video of her routine where she injured herself so badly went viral. Cerio, who was used to seeing videos of her colleagues going viral when they performed perfect routines, and couldn’t believe that people were eager to see someone is such a noticeable and intense pain. The clip has been shared countless times and garnered millions of views.
STILL IN RECOVERY
It’s been nearly 18 months since Cerio’s life was so dramatically altered by a slight mistake, and even though her progress has been labeled by doctors as phenomenal, she is still a long way from regaining 100% of her mobility. As for gymnastics, it is now a dream of the past.
The spirited young space engineer has picked up the threads of her new life, and while she can no longer jump and dance in the air, she can definitely fly.