An "unexpected accident" has claimed the life of a Connecticut gymnast. The Hartford Courant reports Melanie Coleman, 20, died two days after falling from the bars on Friday while practicing at Southern Connecticut State University. The 20-year-old junior was studying nursing, and the paper describes the Connecticut native as an "acclaimed" gymnast who was a level 10 gymnast—the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Program's top level. "Melanie wasn't at fault," her former coach of 10 years tells the Connecticut Post, which reports the athlete suffered a spinal cord injury.
ESPN reports Coleman was named an All-America Scholar Athlete by USA Gymnastics earlier this year. A statement from the university's president emphasizes those dual skills: "Her coaches and professors describe Melanie as a special young woman, who excelled both in the classroom and in the gym. Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends on this tragic loss." A GoFundMe campaign set up for the family has raised $28,000 as of this writing. (Read more freak accident stories.)