Amy Van Dyken, Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, Breaks Her Back, Shares Inspiring Hospital Bed Photos
She's up and smiling. Olympian Amy Van Dyken-Rouen updated fans on her progress Tuesday, June 10, posting a picture of herself in the hospital via Instagram. The six-time Olympic gold medalist severed her spine in an ATV accident at an Arizona golf club near her home last Friday, June 6.
"Making progress.. First day I sat up," Van Dyken, 41, wrote. "Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers," she added, alongside a photo of herself smiling in a hospital gown and sitting on a bed.
The athlete, according to CBS News, told emergency workers she could not feel her legs or move her toes after the accident. Van Dyken was airlifted to the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, where she had surgery to stabilize her spine. A spokesperson said Monday, June 9, that the former athlete was in good condition.
Van Dyken, on the road to recovery, has received an outpouring of support from her husband, former Denver Broncos player Tom Rouen, her many fans, and teammates—past and present. "Doing great today," she wrote on Instagram Tuesday in a separate post. "My room is the most decorated in ICU. Thx for ur thoughts & prayers!"
USA Swimming released a statement to Us Weekly, which read: "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."
"Amy is a champion," the statement continued, adding that the swimmer "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 Van Dyken and Rouen families posted on Facebook about Amy's condition, and explained that she had severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebra. The broken vertebra, according to the families, "miraculously" came within millimeters of rupturing her aorta. Van Dyken shared a picture of family members visiting her at the hospital and wrote, "Never get us all together anymore. This is amazing. I have the best family."
Van Dyken remains in the ICU of Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.