A gymnast at Southern Connecticut State University died on Sunday, Nov. 11, following a training accident on Friday, Nov. 8.
Melanie Coleman, 20, from Milford, Connecticut, died at Yale New Haven Hospital, two days after suffering a spinal cord injury while practicing on the bars, the Connecticut Post reported.
“The injury occurred after she slipped off of the bar,” Thomas Alberti, her former coach, told the Hartford Courant. “Melanie was not at fault.”
Coleman was a former All State gymnast and captain of the Jonathan Law High School gymnastics team, where she led the school to a second-place finish at the state tournament, Southern Connecticut State said in a news release.
Southern Connecticut State University, where Coleman was a junior nursing student, announced her death in a statement Sunday.
Southern Connecticut State University Athletics Mourns Passing Of Gymnast Melanie Coleman https://t.co/DrU1RylTKZ
— SCSU Athletics (@SCSU_Owls) November 11, 2019
Alberti, who coached and trained Coleman for 10 years and also coached her two older sisters, said she attained a level 10, the highest level in the USA Junior Olympics Program. Coleman taught, coached, and hosted birthday events at Alberti’s gymnastics business in Hamden before she entered college.
“To know her was to like her,” Alberti told the Post. “She was a role model all our students could look up to.”
“We are heartbroken and stunned by Melanie’s passing,” Southern Connecticut State gymnastics coach Mary Fredericks said in the school’s news release. “She was an incredibly hard worker and a sweet-spirited young woman. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her family at this time. The SCSU Gymnastics team will miss her greatly though she will always be with us.”