Romanian Gymnast Dies of Stroke

(Deva, Romania)

>> GYMmedia exclusive from Romania

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Romanian Gymnast Dies of Stroke
TIMISOARA, Romania (AP) - Alexandra Huci, one of Romania's top young gymnasts, died Monday, five days after falling into a coma. She was 12.

Her doctors said she died of a brain hemorrhage caused by a birth defect.
Huci complained of a headache on Wednesday while training in the Transylvanian town of Deva. After being examined by doctors on site, she was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where she fell into a coma.
She was later transferred to a hospital in Timisoara where doctors drained excess blood from her brain. After surgery, Huci slipped into a deeper coma and was placed on life support.
Huci, who weighed only 55 pounds, began gymnastics when she was 6.
Born into a poor family in Roman, about 150 miles northeast of Bucharest, Huci followed in the path of many Romanian gymnasts from poor families.
Last year, she won the title of national champion for her age group and dreamed of winning Olympic glory in 2008, like her older compatriots who swept the medals at Sydney, taking gold in the team event and gold, silver and bronze in the individual competition.
``I was very happy when Romania won,'' she told The Associated Press in an interview in September, standing solemnly with her hands at her side between exercises. ``I have no time for friends but I like the gym,'' she added, before sprinting down the mat and doing gravity-defying somersaults.
During her hospital stay, Huci's bed was surrounded by flowers and icons, sent by well-wishers. Her frail body, covered with tubes and breathing apparatuses, was shown on television every night after she fell ill.

Doctors said Huci's body will be taken to Roman for burial after an autopsy is performed.
(source: AP)

>>> Funeral service on Saturday, August, the 25th:



From our GYMmedia correspondent 
Gert Michael Guendisch directly from Romania

German version

"..........what happened during the last days is so sad that I felt the need to write the following report. It results out of many articles in the Romanian press and a few broadcasts on the Romanian television. Never have I seen before such a sympathy in the fate of a person in this country. And you can hardly imagine how everything went on among the population, on television and in every newspaper during the last days."

Gert Michael Guendisch

Since yesterday the Romanian gym world and the whole country is mourning for little Alexandra Huci, who had been one of Romania's best juniors, and closed her eyes for ever in a Temesvar hospital on Monday at 11.15 a.m. The 12-year-old succumbed to a cerebral catastrophe after a five days lasting coma.

Next to her parents and her coaches from Deva, her great idols Simona Amanar, Maria Olaru and Claudia Presecan were watching over little Alexandra who had eagerly aimed to follow in their footsteps.
Wednesday last week there had been almost no sign of the forthcoming fate of the little gymnast who trained at the pupil's gym club CSS Deva and attended Deva's national gym centre together with her older sister Ana-Maria. Being a two-time and present national champion of her age group 'Juniors III' Alexandra was about to become a member of the Olympic team. According to her coach Lili Cosma and her training companions, Alexandra was just recovering of a hand injury and, therefore, was only doing easy vaulting into the training pit. Furthermore, she had had a light headache all week. Her room-mates and friends Roxana Becheanu and Andreea Tinu report that it had not been a severe headache and that Alexandra had asked them not to tell it to anybody. After an easy vault she suddenly started to feel bad and dizzy, and asked if she could go to the loo. There she had to vomit. After a following and severe headache attack she was guided to the school's doctor. After first aid support the doctor called the ambulance which brought her - being already in a comatic state - to the local children's hospital, and then to the local hopital. A helicopter flew her to the clinic in Temesvar at the same afternoon. There an intercelebral bleeding was diagnosed due to a bursted vessel in her brain. At this point Alexandra was already in a coma of the 3rd level.

However, her family could be informed only hours later - in the little village Ion Creanga there is no telephone connection .

photo: (C)gazeta sporturilor
Although the doctors tried all night to save her and operated her on the next day, the little Alexandra could not be awakened out of the coma.
The question arose, if the celebral stroke was influenced or even a consequence of doing gymnastics. Chief doctor Dr. Horia Ples of the clinic Temesvar answered that such a genetic defect of a vessel can be compared with a "ticking bomb" whose explosion can be caused by various reasons: by elite sport too, but by physical effort

in general. If the vessel had not burst during the gymnastic training, it would have happened another time during walking up stairs, hiking, swimming etc. or even during a sun-bath. Therefore, it is not possible to find a special connection between the incident and the gymnastic training.
The case has been made known in plenty of newspapers and on television and let to an extraordinary degree of sympathy through out Romania. All week long uncountable people prayed, hoped, cried and worried about the little 12-year-old that weighed only 25 kg, and lived close to Roman in the province Moldau in the northeast of Romania. Many people gave money for accomodation and care of the family, and Ion Tiriac, president of the Romanian Olympic committee, offered to fly the girl to a clinic in Germany. 
Sadly, it could not be realised. The small hope of the doctors was put down when on Monday Alexandra Huci's liitle heart stopped pumping...

Whole Romania sympathises with the pain and the sorrow of her parents as well as her three older sisters. The walk to the graveyard this Friday will probably be the hardest in the lives of this family.

Gert Michael Guendisch exklusive for GYMmedia INTERNATIONAL

Funeral on Saturday, 25.08.2001:

The date of the funeral was changed from Friday, 24.08.01, to Saturday to enable Alexandra’s sister Ana-Maria Huci to attend the burial. Being pupil of the sport school Deva she still had to do the final exams there. Since Ana-Maria was in stress because of the final exams during the last two weeks, she was informed about the critical condition of her sister and of the massive deterioration of her state not before two days after the incident on behalf of the parents.

A report on Rumanian television was very sad and affecting. According to this report Alexandra Huci was lied out and buried with a blond periwig. For she had to be shaved before the neurosurgerical operation and, therefore, had lost her „angel-like, beautiful blond“ (quotation) hair.

More than 5,000 people from all over the country attended the funeral in the village Ion Creanga with about 2,000 inhabitants. 86 children, friends and teammates from Deva, Bukarest and surrounding carried 50 rings of flowers in front of the coffin of white dressed Alexandra. (In Romania and the orthodox church it is conventional and custom to bury early died girls in complete white ("The bride of Christ, mireasa lui Hristos, taken to the lord because she was too good").

photo: (C)gazeta sporturilor

Gert Michael Guendisch exclusiv for GYMmedia INTERNATIONAL
Translation: Florian Schmid-Sorg

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