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After devastating leg injuries, Auburn gymnast sets goal to walk at her wedding

Samantha Cerio's coach said the gymnast has set a big goal for her recovery after suffering a devastating injury during a gymnastics routine.
Credit: AP
Auburn's Samantha Cerio smiles and signals to the crowd before competing on the uneven parallel bars during the NCAA college women's gymnastics championships Friday, April 14, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Auburn University said Tuesday that a gymnast who suffered devastating leg injuries during an NCAA regional semifinal has undergone surgery and has her sights set on a big goal for her recovery. 

A statement released by Auburn gymnastics coach Jeff Graba said senior Samantha Cerio suffered two dislocated knees during the NCAA Regional Semifinal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Friday. 

Cerio's legs buckled during a floor exercise when she landed at the end of a tumbling run. She immediately clutched both legs in pain.

The meet was delayed while medical workers put splints on both of her legs. They carried her out of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to a standing ovation.

Cerio posted a lengthy Instagram post on Sunday announcing that Friday night was her last as a gymnast. 

Dr. James Andrews operated on the athlete on Monday for injuries that include multiple torn ligaments in both knees.

In a tweet, Graba said the surgery lasted two and a half hours and was "an extreme success." 

"We know the road for full healing is going to be a long and difficult one, but we are confident that she'll be able to make a complete recovery," he said.

Her coach told NBC News that Cerio's goal following surgery is to be able to walk down the aisle at her wedding in two months.

The Huntersville, North Carolina, native was recently named the SEC co-Scholar Athlete of the year for gymnastics and is majoring in aerospace engineering. After graduation, Cerio has a job lined up in Seattle with Boeing as a Structural Design Analysis Engineer. 

She recently told AuburnTigers.com that she wanted to change the stereotype of how student-athletes are viewed at Auburn and across the country.

Cerio's fans have posted on social media wishing her a speedy recovery. 

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