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Friday
Feb022018

Quick-thinking gymnastics coach saves teen from serious injury

iStock/Thinkstock(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) -- A quick-thinking coach helped save a 13-year-old gymnast from serious injury at a national competition in Springfield, Massachusetts, this past weekend.

Noah Viera, who trains with the New England Academy of Gymnastics, was warming up on the high bar Saturday when the incident occurred. Before getting started, he asked his coach Cal Booker to spot him.

Academy owner Carolyn Booker told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV that Viera was doing his "giants" -- a term for the 360-degree rotation around the bar -- into a blind change when his grips "ripped off the bar" and he "went flying into the air." That's when Cal Booker sprang into action, running to catch the boy and break what could have been a disastrous fall.

"It's like a new skill for me a little bit, so just doing it is scary, but me falling off is scary," Viera said.

"Going on the turn, doing the giants, I felt like I was slipping off, but I didn't think anything would happen," he added.

The video shows Viera hurtling through the air before his coach grabs him around the waist just before he lands on the mat.

"His body's rotating and then it's, like, 'OK, whatever you're going to do, protect his head. Save his neck. Save him from hitting his head,'" Cal Booker said of the save.

Cal Booker has been coaching the teen for six years at their academy in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

The frightening moment didn't hurt Viera's performance though.

"Noah continued on with his warm-up and completed his best high bar routine this season," Carolyn Booker said.

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