Olympian Who Severed Her Spine Sits Up

Van Dyken 'doing great,' but prognosis unclear

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 12, 2014 1:20 AM CDT | Updated Jun 12, 2014 2:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – Six-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen is on the mend and in remarkably good spirits after severing her spine in an all-terrain vehicle crash. Her long-term prognosis is still unclear, but she has posted photos of herself smiling and sitting up in her hospital bed on her Instagram account, reports the BBC. "Doing great today," wrote the 41-year-old, whose spinal cord was severed at the T11 vertebrae, which came within millimeters of rupturing her aorta.

The swimmer will be transferred from Arizona to a hospital in Colorado next week for rehabilitation, her husband tells the Denver Post. She's looking forward to being near friends and family, and "to being back in that Mile High air," he says. "She's going to tackle this like everything else she does in her life." On social media, she has thanked her fans for all their support. "Just thinking out loud. ... Now I will get really good seats at @dbacks and other favorite sports teams. #awesome #bringMyOwnChair #goodParking2," she tweeted yesterday.

Six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken and her future husband, Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, pose before going into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame dinner in 2001.
Six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken and her future husband, Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, pose before going into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame dinner in 2001.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
In this July 26, 1996 photo, Amy Van Dyken holds her medal after winning the women's 50-meter freestyle at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In this July 26, 1996 photo, Amy Van Dyken holds her medal after winning the women's 50-meter freestyle at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
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