Woman Left Paralyzed From Neck Down After Doing Sit-Ups at Gym


A young woman was left paralysed from the neck down when she fell from a piece of exercise equipment while doing sit-ups at the gym.

Marcelle Mancuso is a 23-year-old law graduate from São José do Rio Preto in Brazil.

In January 2016, Mancuso was performing a simple inverted sit-up at the gym when the accident occurred. 

An inverted sit-up involves lying backwards on a piece of apparatus and doing sit-ups, with your head being the closest part of your body to the floor.

"It was just another normal day of training," Mancuso said. 

"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 hit the back of her head on the floor, instantly losing the ability to move her body.

"My diagnosis was tetraplegia - no movement in my arms or legs," she explained.

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

Mancuso broke the fifth vertebrae in the neck section of her spine. Another vertebrae was also knocked out of place and a third was squashed.

This consequently compressed her spinal cord, which resulted in her paralysis.

Mancuso was immediately taken to hospital for emergency care. Doctors had to graft bone to her damaged vertebrae and also fit a metal plate in her spine. 

While doctors weren't initially certain whether Mancuso would be able to walk again, she has taken gradual steps over the past two years on her road to recovery.

The fitness fanatic was able to wiggle her fingers and toes after three days and took her first steps with a walking frame 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."

Mancuso is now fully recovered and leading a very active lifestyle. 

"It sometimes feel like it was a nightmare I have woken from," she said. 

"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."