Six-Time US Olympic Gold Medalist Amy Van Dyken Breaks Back In ATV Accident

Six-time US Olympic Gold Medalist Amy Van Dyken Rouen is hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Scottsdale, Arizona after she suffered a severed back in an ATV accident, according to AZcentral Sports.

Amy’s brother, David Van Dyken, posted on Facebook that the swimmer was airlifted to the Osborn Medical Center on Friday following the accident. Her husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, said she suffered a broken back.

In a letter, the Van Kyken and Rouen families said Amy severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebrae and that the broken vertebrae came within millimeters of rupturing her aorta.

Show Low, Arizona police responded to the 911 call about Amy Van Dyken Rouen’s accident at the Torreon Golf Club at around 7:55 pm on Friday.

According to the police report, Van Dyken Rouen was conscious, though she was having trouble breathing and had no feeling in her legs.

A witness, who came to Amy’s aid, stated she was not wearing a helmet when the accident happened. Van Dkyen Rouen was allegedly driving an ATV in a parking lot and “launched over” a curb. The witness added that when he reached the former Olympian, she was unresponsive and was not wearing a helmet.

Amy Van Dyken Rouen’s husband told the Denver Post that his wife’s ATV tumbled over an embankment. He was riding a motorcycle when he saw the accident came to her aid.

“She wasn’t breathing,” Rouen said. “I raised up the back of her neck with my hand, she started gasping for air.”

Rouen told police he had recently change the throttle mechanism in the ATV Amy Van Dyken was driving from a thumb accelerator to a twist accelerator. He did not know whether that contributed to the accident.

In a statement, 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.”

Amy Van Dyken was the first American woman to win four gold medals at one Olympics, in 1996. She is “in good spirits,” according to her husband. Following surgery “she needed about three days before she is out of the woods. She is strong and has a great attitude.”

[Image via Amy Van Dyken/Instagram]

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