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College Gymnast Dies After Suffering Spinal Cord Injury In Practice

Melanie Coleman
Melanie Coleman Photo Credit: Southern Connecticut State Athletics

A member of the Southern Connecticut State University women's gymnastics team died after suffering a spinal cord injury in practice.

Melanie Coleman, 20, died on Sunday, Nov. 10 after the incident while she was practicing on the bars at the university's campus in New Haven on Friday, Nov. 8.

Coleman, a junior, came to Southern Connecticut State from Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Connecticut, where, as a team captain, she was the program's most valuable player and all-state selection. 

As a freshman at SCSU for the 2017-18 season she joined her sister, Tiffany, who was a sophomore at the time. The two competed together until Tiffany's graduation last year.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Melanie's family," SCSU Athletic Director Jay Moran said. "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."

Last year, she was honored by USA Gymnastics as an All-America Scholar-Athlete, and was also recognized by Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WGCA) as a Scholastic All-American. She was pursuing a degree in nursing from Southern Connecticut. 

"We are heartbroken and stunned by Melanie's passing," head coach Mary Fredericks said. "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."

Coleman also volunteered as a youth instructor at New Era Gymnastics in Hamden.

Melanie's family has set up a page, as well as a page that coordinates meal donations to the family at

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