Olympic Swimmer Amy Van Dyken Injures Her Spinal Cord in ATV Accident
Amy Van Dyken has been hospitalized after an ATV accident in Show Low, Arizona. It was reported that Amy severed her spinal cord after crashing her ATV to a curb on June 6. She was accompanied by her husband, former NFL punter Tom Rouen, before she was brought by helicopter to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center, which is about 170 miles away from the accident scene.
A witness saw the six-time Olympic gold medalist winner driving an ATV through a parking lot and crashing a curb without wearing a helmet. She was unresponsive when the witness approached her, having difficulty to breath and could not feel her legs after regaining consciousness.
The Rouen and Van Dyken families have released a letter to Swimming World Magazine regarding Amy's current condition. According to the letter, "Her husband, Tom, was with her at the time of the accident and bravely kept her stable until the helicopter arrived. An amazing team of doctors performed emergency surgery to repair her spine and stabilize her."
"Amy's spinal cord was completely severed at the T11 vertebrae, but, miraculously, a broken vertebrae stopped within millimeters of rupturing her aorta, and she did not suffer any head trauma," the letter continued.
Amy's family revealed Amy's condition had got better after she gained consciousness within hours after the surgery on Saturday. "Amy awoke within hours of surgery acting like her typical spunky, boisterous, ebullient self and has spent the last 24 hours entertaining her family and her medical staff in the ICU," they wrote.
Amy herself has updated her Instagram with playful pictures from her hospital bed. "Never get us all together anymore. This is amazing. I have the best family," she posted alongside a picture of her family members who visited her in hospital. She also posted a picture of a drawing made by her niece and nephew, captioning it with, "A drawing from my niece and nephew. They are so sweet. Made me smile. #hospitalsSuck."
Amy was the first American female swimmer who won four Olympic swimming gold medals in 1996. Her wins continued when she won two relay gold medals in the 2000 Olympic before announcing her retirement.
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