Olympic Swimmer Van Dyken Severs Spinal Cord in ATV Crash
Six-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Amy Van Dyken, who goes by her married name Rouen, was seriously injured in an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle on Friday near her home in Show Low, Ariz, according to the Washington Post.
About the ATV Accident
An initial report says Rouen was riding an ATV when she struck a curb in a restaurant parking lot. The impact of the crash sent Rouen down a five- to six-foot embankment. A witness found Rouen unresponsive; she was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. When emergency crews arrived, Rouen told workers she was unable to feel her legs or feet.
Rouen was airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center.
On Monday, Rouen’s family released a statement saying she had severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebrae. The family also noted the vertebrae came within millimeters of rupturing Rouen’s aorta.
Rouen’s husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, told police that he had recently changed the throttle mechanism on the ATV but was unsure if that was a factor in the accident.
Spinal Cord Injury Facts
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate about 200,000 people in the U.S. are currently living with a spinal cord injury. Each year, approximately 12,000 to 20,000 new spinal cord injuries occur. Motor vehicle accidents are the cause of 46% of all spinal cord injuries.