NEW HAVEN — A college gymnast from Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) has died following a training accident.
Officials at the university say 20-year-old Melanie Coleman died Sunday at Yale-New Haven Hospital, two days after suffering a spinal cord injury during practice.
University President Joe Bertolino called Coleman’s death a “tragic loss.”
She was a junior nursing student at the New Haven school.
The University's Athletic Director Jay Moran said the gymnastics team is having a hard time dealing with the loss.
“They’re more of a family than a team, they’re devastated, they’ve lost their friend, she was a friend to them and a great student on campus,” Moran said.
Coleman was a former All-State gymnast at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Connecticut.
Her former club coach, Tom Alberti, said she attained the highest level in the USA Junior Olympics Program.
“Melanie has such a desire to keep bettering herself, it was never about school or winning, it was about being a better gymnast,” Alberti said.
Coleman was also the captain of the Jonathan Law gymnastics team and was named as a Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American earlier this year.
Loved ones and many in gymnastics communities across the country have shared tributes on social media, including USA Gymnastics..
A Go-FundMe account for Melanie’s family has been set-up, so far it’s raised almost fifty-thousand-dollars.
A gofundme page aimed at supporting Coleman's family raised $40,000 by Monday evening.