Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

June 9, 2014

Former Olympic swimmer Van Dyken severs spine in accident

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken severed her spine in an all-terrain vehicle accident over the weekend, and told emergency workers she could not move her toes or feel anything touching her legs.

The 46-year-old swimmer, who goes by her married name Van Dyken Rouen, was injured Friday. She was airlifted to a hospital and had surgery to stabilize her spine.

Hospital spokeswoman Alice Giedraitis didn’t provide details Monday on Rouen’s injuries. She said the swimmer was in good condition.

A letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families said she severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebrae and that the broken vertebrae came within millimeters of rupturing her aorta.

A report by the Show Low Police Department said the ATV that Rouen was driving hit a curb in a restaurant parking lot and sent her over a drop-off between 5 to 7 feet.

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