Amy Van Dyken Rouen, former Olympic swimmer, is presently recovering in a hospital after an ATV accident.
The accident took place near Phoenix on Friday while she was aboard an all-terrain vehicle. She is said to have severed her spine. Facebook posts from her family have mentioned that she severed her T11 vertebrae and that the broken bone was only millimeters close to rupturing her aorta.
The six-time gold medalist, according to the local police, smashed into a curb and threw her down a five- to seven- foot embankment. She was not wearing any precautionary gear while driving and she could not move her legs after the accident.
Tom Rouen, her husband who is a former Denver Broncos punter, immediately recounted the details of her accident. “She wasn’t breathing,” he said. “I raised up the back of her neck with my hand, she started gasping for air.” She was immediately airlifted to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center and was rushed into surgery.
At present, she is said to be recovering and is in good condition despite the severity of her spinal injuries. Sadly, however, she is to remain under watch and care at the hospital’s intensive care unit for the next several days.
USA Swimming has also given their statement on the Amy’s condition, “The USA Swimming family is devastated to learn of Amy Van Dyken’s unfortunate accident this weekend. We’re happy to hear that she escaped and is now in great care. That she is already ‘acting like her typical spunky, boisterous, ebullient self’ shows she’s on a great path.” The statement goes on with, “Amy is a champion who has proven throughout her life that she is a fighter who takes on challenges and comes out on top. We know Amy will tackle her rehabilitation with vigor and be back on her feet sooner rather than later.”
The 41-year-old former member of the Olympic swim team made history in 1996 when she became the first ever female American athlete to win four gold medals in just a single Olympic games.