Auburn University gymnast Samantha Cerio ending career after knee injuries, focusing on wedding

Samantha Cerio, the Auburn University gymnast who dislocated her knees while competing in an NCAA gymnastics regional in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Friday is moving on from the sport.

The 22-year-old engineering major confirmed days later that the appearance would be her last as a competing gymnast.

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"Friday night was my final night as a gymnast. After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind," she wrote in an Instagram post Sunday. "I couldn't be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become. It's taught me hard work, humility, integrity, and dedication, just to name a few. It's given me challenges and road blocks that I would have never imagined that has tested who I am as a person. It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned.

"Thank you Auburn family for giving me a home and a chance to continue doing the sport that will always be my first love. I am honored to have had the privilege to represent the navy and orange AU for the past 4 years with my team by my side. Thank you for letting me share my passion with you. Thank you for letting me be a part of something bigger than myself.
"War Eagle Always"

ESPN reported Cerio underwent surgery Monday after tearing multiple ligaments in both of her legs and dislocating her knees while trying to do a double front with a blind landing. She was taken off the mat on a stretcher after medical staff and athletic trainers tended to her for about eight minutes.

Despite initial reports that she broke her legs, there were no broken bones, only torn ligaments, The Associated Press reported.

"The Auburn Athletics Department is thankful of the outstanding care that Auburn and LSU medical staffs have provided to Sam," her coach, Jeff Graba, said in a statement. "We are also thankful for the support from the LSU Athletics Department for going above and beyond in this situation. Sam is a fighter and is in great spirits. We couldn't have a better leader for this team."

Credit: Bryan Woolston

Credit: Bryan Woolston

Cerio now has a new goal, Graba, told NBC News. She is getting married to her fiance, Joseph "Trey" Wood III, in June.

“She wants to walk down the aisle and get married, and we're hoping she can do that,” he said.

Related: Auburn University gymnast dislocates both knees during floor routine

Cerio said in a tweet that she was doing well and resting after her surgery.

“I truly appreciate all of the support and prayers that I have have received! I am doing well right now and getting lots of rest! From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!”

According to the Auburn Tigers website, Cerio has already accepted a job in Seattle, where she will work as a structural design analysis engineer at Boeing. She was named SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year in March.

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