(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 Friday 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.
WEB EXTRA: JLHS Principal Message on November 11 on Coleman’s death
On Tuesday, the State Medical Examiner ruled her death accidental.
An outpouring of support rolled in for Melanie’s family following the tragedy.
As of Tuesday night, 1,300 people have donated more than $60,000 to help, and more than $1,000 worth of meals have been bought through a meal service program.
High-profile organizations tweeted their sympathy to Melanie’s loved-ones:
NCAA writing their condolences to Melanie’s “family, friends, and teammates.”
Alabama University’s gymnastics team writing “In these moments, we are all SCSU Owls”
SCSU is planning a campus tribute for Melanie after the family’s services are finished.