Amy Van Dyken Rouen, Olympic Gold Medalist, Severs Spine in ATV Accident

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Amy Van Dyken Rouen, an Olympic gold medalist in swimming, severed her spin in an ATV accident in Show Low on June 6.

She was airlifted to a nearby hospital and told emergency workers on the way that she could not move her feet or feel anything on her legs.

A letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families said that Amy's spine was severed along the T11 vertebrae and the fracture came within millimeters of rupturing her aorta. 

Van Dyken Rouen is in good condition according to hospital spokesperson Alice Giedraitis.

A police report obtained after the crash said that Van Dyken Rouen was driving an ATV which hit a curb in a restaurant parking lot sending her over a 5 to 7 foot drop-off.

She was found unresponsive on the ground near the ATV by an onlooker who saw the accident happen. 

Van Dyken Rouen was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and her husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, said he'd recently done some work to their ATV.

There is no report as to whether or not the accelerator change was a factor in the crash.

Amy Van Dyken first splashed onto the scene in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

She became the first female athlete to win four gold medals in a single games. She took home the gold for both the 50- and 100-meter freestyles and competed as part of the two winning relay teams in the 400 free and 400 medley events.

In Sydney in 2000, she won two more gold medals in the 400 free and 400 medley relay events, bringing her grand total to 6 gold medals.

In a statement issued following Van Dyken Rouen's accident, USA Swimming said:

"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 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."

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