From Staff and Wire Reports

Julissa D'Anne Gomez, an 18-year-old Houston gymnast who was once ranked 13th in the nation, was buried over the weekend following a three-year coma.

Gomez broke her neck on May 5, 1988 during warm-up vaulting exercises at the World Sports Fair in Tokyo.

She was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery Saturday.

At the time of her injury, the 73-pound gymnast was looking forward to the first step in the Olympic team selection process during the U.S. championships in Houston the following month.

According to her parents, she never regained consciousness. She remained paralyzed and unable to breathe without assistance from that time until her death Thursday at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston.

"She opened her eyes and closed them when she went to sleep," said Otilia Gomez, her mother. "But she was unconscious. She was not able to function because she had lost so much oxygen to the brain."

Gomez had been an honors student in high school.

On July 8, she suffered acute respiratory problems and was taken to The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research. On July 14, she entered St. Luke's, where she died of acute respiratory failure.

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