- Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, a six-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, has taken her first steps since an ATV accident
Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, the former Olympic swimmer, is working to adjust to her new life.
She has won six Olympic gold medals in her career, four of which she won at the Summer Olympics, making her the first American woman to accomplish such a feat and the most successful athlete at the Summer Olympics.
She won gold in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and 4×100-meter medley relay.
Van Dyken suffered from severe asthma throughout her childhood and into adulthood. She began swimming on the advice of a doctor as a way to strengthen her lungs to cope with her condition and prevent future asthma attacks.
2014, Van Dyken was in a severe ATV accident and severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebra.
She was conscious when rescued and airlifted to a hospital where she had emergency surgery to stabilize her spinal cord and vertebral column.
The injury to the area came within millimeters of impacting and potentially rupturing her aorta. However, the accident did leave her paralyzed from the waist down.
After two months of rehabilitation, Van Dyken left the hospital, saying, “I’m a better person than before the injury,” and took her first steps.