20-year-old gymnast dies after 'freak' training accident at college

20-year-old gymnast dies after 'freak' training accident at college

A 20-year-old gymnast at Southern Connecticut State University died on Sunday following a training accident, the university announced on its website.

Melanie Coleman, a junior nursing student, passed away at Yale New Haven Hospital, two days after sustaining a spinal cord injury during practice.

According to the Hartford Courant, the Milford native suffered the injury after slipping off a gymnastics bar.

Although she focussed primarily on the balance beam, Coleman often practised on the uneven bars, university spokesman Patrick Dilger told the outlet.

FOX 61 reports the student's tragic passing:

"At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with Melanie’s family," the school’s director of athletics, Jay Moran, said in a statement. "This has been devastating to her coaches and teammates and we hope to support them in this very difficult time."

"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."

"We are heartbroken and stunned by Melanie’s passing," added Coleman’s head coach Mary Fredericks. "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."

Following Coleman's tragic death, a GoFundMe page and MealTrain have been set up for Coleman’s family to help them deal with this "unfathomable loss."

Over $32,000 has been raised for the family since the GoFundMe page was set up on Sunday.

melanie coleman Credit: GoFundMe

"Melanie gained her angel wings tonight and was able to give life to others," the page reads. "The support from this page and the meal train is graciously received by the family. Please continue to share these two pages within the community as the family grapples with the unconscionable realities of Melly’s passing."