Olympic Gold Medalist Amy Van Dyken Rouen Severs Spine in ATV Crash

Olympic swimmer and six-time gold medalist Amy Van Dyken Rouen, 41, has been injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident, her family says. The crash severed Rouen's spinal cord and nearly ruptured her aorta, but she has been stabilized and is reportedly awake and in good condition.

Via HuffPo:

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.

"Amy awoke within hours of surgery acting like her typical spunky, boisterous, ebullient self and has spent the last 24 hours entertaining her family and her medical staff in the ICU," the letter said.

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 of between 5 and 7 feet.

Rouen reportedly told emergency responders that she could not move her toes or feel her legs after the accident.

Her husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, told police officers he had changed the throttle mechanism on the ATV from a thumb accelerator to a twist accelerator a few days before the accident, though wasn't sure if it was a factor in the accident.

He said his wife had not been drinking alcohol that evening.

How completely awful—both to experience the panic and pain of the accident, and to endure the speculation about what caused it. Best wishes to Rouen and her family for a smooth and swift recovery.

Image via Getty.