College gymnast dies following training accident in Connecticut

Melanie Coleman, 20, of Milford, was practicing on the bars when she suffered a spinal cord injury.

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By Janelle Griffith

A college gymnast died Sunday, two days after she sustained a serious injury during gymnastics training at Southern Connecticut State University.

Melanie Coleman.SCSU Athletics

Melanie Coleman, 20, of Milford, was practicing on the bars when she suffered a spinal cord injury, according to the Connecticut Post. She died at Yale New Haven Hospital.

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Southern Connecticut State University, where Coleman was a junior nursing student, confirmed her death in a statement Sunday.

“Her coaches and professors describe Melanie as a special young woman, who excelled both in the classroom and in the gym,” University President Joe Bertolino said.” “Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends on this tragic loss.”

Bertolino said free and confidential counseling services would be available at the university by appointment.

Coleman's family issued a statement Monday describing the young athlete as a loving daughter, friend and teammate.

"We are confident that her spirit, laughter, and humor will live on through the ones who loved her most, as well as through the gift of life to those who needed it most through organ donation," the family said.

Coleman was a former All State gymnast at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.

"This has been devastating to her coaches and teammates and we hope to support them in this very difficult time," said Jay Moran, Southern Connecticut State University's director of athletics. "Melanie was a very bright student, an excellent athlete and involved member of the Southern Connecticut community. The entire Southern athletics family is greatly saddened by her loss."