Graphic warning: US gymnast retires after sickening double leg break

Warning: Some may find the video distressing

American gymnast Sam Cerio has been forced to call time on her competitive career, suffering a horrendous double leg break at the NCAA regionals in Baton Rouge.

Performing her floor routine, Auburn University's Cerio mistimed her landing after an attempted handspring double, breaking both of her legs on impact.

Cerio was stretchered from the venue, given a standing ovation for her efforts.

Taking to Instagram, Cerio confirmed that the performance signalled the end of her days as a gymnast.

"After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind," she wrote.

"I couldn't be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become. It's taught me hard work, humility, integrity, and dedication, just to name a few.

"It's given me challenges and road blocks that I would have never imagined that has tested who I am as a person.

"It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned."

Cerio's teammates and supporters have since created a hashtag titled #StickItForSam in support of their injured friend.