College gymnast dies after suffering spinal cord injury during training

(WTNH) — A 20-year-old Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) student-athlete passed away on Sunday after sustaining a tragic injury while training at a Hamden gym where she was employed.

Melanie Coleman, of Milford, was pursuing a nursing degree while participating on the SCSU gymnastics team, where she was the team captain, the program’s most valuable player and all-state section, according to SCSU Athletics.

Coleman was honored by USA Gymnastics as an All-American Scholar-Athlete and recognized by Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WGCA) as a Scholastic All-American last year.

“Our lovely Melanie comes from an amazing large family.  She was and will continue to be our light and love. She was a loving daughter, sister, cousin, teammate, and best friend.

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. 

We are humbled by the outpouring support from our Milford community (our small town with a big heart) and beyond.  She will be sadly and deeply missed by all those who crossed paths with her.  The family asks for privacy during this time of healing. “

— THE COLEMAN FAMILY

“We are heartbroken and stunned by Melanie’s passing. 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.”

 — HEAD COACH MARY FREDERICKS

“Melanie was an extraordinary young lady that positively touched all that knew her. Melanie was a true team player, a hard worker and a true pleasure to coach. I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to coach her.”

— FORMER HEAD COACH JERRY NELSON

“Melanie was one of those gymnasts that just no matter what the adversity just kept pushing herself to be better and to do more and in turn made others around her better, being a total role model for our entire team here.”

— TOM ALBERTI, TRAINING COACH

Prior to attending Southern Connecticut State University, Melanie was a student at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.

GoFundMe.com page has been set-up as well as a meal donations page for her family.

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