A 23-year-old Brazilian fitness fanatic was left paralysed from the neck down after a sit-up accident at the gym

Marcelle MancusoMarcelle Mancuso.
  • Brazilian law graduate Marcelle Mancuso broke a vertebra while exercising in January 2016.
  • She was doing an inverted sit-up, an exercise which takes place on a sharp incline.
  • Doctors diagnosed her with tetraplegia, which means no movement in the arms or legs.
  • She made a gradual recovery and now leads an active life again.

A 23-year-old Brazilian woman who was left paralysed from the neck down after a freak exercise accident at the gym is working out again.

Marcelle Mancuso, a law graduate from São José do Rio Preto, fell off a piece of equipment in January 2016 and broke one of the vertebra in her back, with life-changing consequences.

Mancuso injured herself during an inverted sit-up, a tougher version of a regular sit-up which is performed at an angle, with your legs elevated and head close to the floor.

Following the accident doctors diagnosed her with tetraplegia, meaning no movement in the arms or legs, she said.

Before the accident Mancuso led a very active life.

“It was just another normal day of training,” Mancuso is quoted in The Independent as saying

“I went to perform the abdominal inverted sit-up, and was upside down. I was attached to the equipment with a strip, which broke and the personal trainer could not hold me.”

Mancuso said that she hit the back of her head on the floor and immediately lost all movement in her body.

“The doctors did not know if I would walk again or if I would stay on a bed forever.”

She had broken the fifth vertebra in her neck, knocked another, and squashed a third, The Independent reports, which compressed her spinal cord and resulted in paralysis.

Having committed to physical therapy Mancuso made a gradual recovery, and took her first steps after a month.

“After four months I started to improve my leg strength and five months after the accident I stopped having fainting and dizziness while walking,” she said. “After six months I managed to walk and my legs did not sway anymore.”

“I have a normal life today and thank God all the time for it! I learned to value the simplest things in life, such as getting out of bed and being able to brush my teeth without help.”

And if her Instagram is anything to go by she now lives just as active a life as before her accident.

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