Bikini Bodybuilder Recovers From Paralyzing Neck Injury Following Gym Accident & Turns Into Champion

Marcelle Mendes Mancuso Facebook

Marcelle Mendes Mancuso recovered from a horrific accident in the gym to become an NPC champion.

There are many inspiring stories that come out of the bodybuilding world each year. Bikini bodybuilder Marcelle Mendes Mancuso is one of the best, going from a devastating gym injury to champion on stage.

In 2018, Mancuso slipped off a bar in the gym and crashed to the floor. She claimed she could not feel anything below her neck, according to The Sun. She went in for X-rays and they revealed that she had broken one vertebra and dislocated two others.

“It turned out that I broke C4, dislocated C5 and C6, and had spinal compression. From this moment on, I could not feel anything below the neck.”

Mancuso underwent a successful surgery where doctors implanted a titanium plate and six screws into her spine. Doctors told Mancuso that she might never walk again but the future bodybuilding champion had bigger plans.

Marcelle Mendes Mancuso Facebook

Marcelle Mendes Mancuso Becomes NPC Champion

After surgery, the smallest movements, such as lifting her fingers, was difficult. As time went on, Mancuso went through different rehabs and was able to get back into a training routine in the gym. At first, Mancuso began weightlifting but was advised by a trainer to think about bodybuilding.

“I found the idea a bit strange but her training supported it and said that he would be my coach for free.”

Mancuso began competing at the NPC level in 2023. She finished as the runner-up during the NPC Worldwide Portugal National Championships. Mancuso continued to train with a determined mindset into 2024. She finished second once again during the NPC Worldwide Mr. Big Evolution before her first victory. This came during the 2024 edition of the Worldwide Portugal National Championships.

Marcelle Mendes Mancuso’s ultimate goal is making it to the Olympia and competing on the biggest stage in the world. She has overcome plenty during her fitness journey and will work to achieve further goals as well.

“I think the dream of every athlete, professional and amateur, is to participate in the Olympia.

I am immensely happy to have started my preparation for the Olympia and will do everything to achieve a great physical shape and fight for the Pro Card.”

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Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation,, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.