A fitness fanatic was left paralysed from the neck down after falling on her head in a horrific gym accident, but she never lost hope of walking again. And after two years, she has not only started walking again, has even started hitting the gym.
Marcelle Mancuso injured her neck while doing a training session at a gym in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Brazil, in January 2016. She broke a vertebra after slipping off a bench while doing a very common abdominal exercise aka inverted sit-up.
An inverted sit-up involves performing an abdominal crunch on a gym bench which is raised at the end. The strap holding her legs onto the elevated end of the bench came loose and she slipped head-first onto the floor.
Following her fall, she was rushed to the hospital where she had to be fitted with a titanium plate held by six screws into her spine.
Doctors warned her that she could be a tetraplegic for life. But after months of physiotherapy, the 23-year-old gradually regained movement and was able to wiggle her fingers and toes, and took her first step with a walking frame.
According to Mirror, Mancuso, who actively posts her training photos on Instagram, explained her fall in the gym. She said: "It was just another normal day of training. 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.
"I hit the back of my head on the floor, and immediately lost all body movements with the blow. My diagnosis was tetraplegia - no movement in my arms or legs.
"The doctors did not know if I would walk again or if I would stay on a bed forever. I was afraid, but my faith always spoke louder and I thanked God for being alive. My parents were desperate with fear of losing me but I was always very determined," she added.
She thanked God for her surprise recovery and didn't loose hope. "I gave my best every day in physical therapy. I thought if my movements did not come back it would not be my fault, it would be destiny. I was willing to fight until the last minute. Gradually my movement came back," Mancuso added.
"The doctors were surprised by my recovery. One day when I was in the doctor's office thanking the doctor who operated on me, he said: 'Do not thank me, thank the guy from the top - this is his work' - meaning God."
Now the law graduate is back at the gym and has even started doing inverted sit-ups again. Recently she shared an inspirational Instagram post, marking a year of her horrific accident. She wrote, "365 days ... more than walking again, I learned to pray. Thank you God! Thank you! May I never forget to thank, cherish for the good and give myself to whoever needs it."
She concluded by saying, "I am blessed and happy as never before! Live intensely and only carry with you what gives you peace, this is the purest form of happiness. Today, I am grateful and commemorate."