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Terrible tragedy for former Olympic swimmer

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Terrible tragedy for former Olympic swimmer

Postby Domer » June 10th, 2014, 9:39 am

http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics/story ... ent-060914

Swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was involved in an ATV accident Friday that severed her spine, and the six-time Olympic champion is recovering after surgery in Scottsdale, Ariz., authorities said.

Van Dyken-Rouen, 41, is in Osborn Medical Center where she is in good spirits, her husband, Tom Rouen, told the Denver Post.

After surgery "she needed about three days before she is out of the woods," he told the Denver Post. "She is strong and has a great attitude."

The couple was returning home from dinner when the ATV Van Dyken-Rouen was riding ahead of her husband's motorcycle hit a curb and tumbled down an embankment, the paper reported. Rouen and a paramedic who came across the accident scene tended to her until emergency responders and a transport helicopter arrived.

"She wasn't breathing," Rouen told the paper. "I raised up the back of her neck with my hand, she started gasping for air."

Van Dyken-Rouen told emergency responders she could not feel her legs when she regained consciousness, The Arizona Republic reported.

Van Dyken-Rouen won gold medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 100 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, then repeated in the relays in Sydney in 2000.

She has worked as a TV and radio personality, including a role as the FOX Sports swimming analyst at the London Games in 2012 as well as a host at FOX Sports Radio up until earlier this year, and most recently was a swimming correspondent for FOX Sports 1.

According to Swimming World, the family released the following message:

Dear Friends and Family,

On Friday night our sister, daughter, and wife, Amy Van Dyken Rouen, was emergency airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center after an ATV accident in Show Low, AZ. Her husband, Tom, was with her at the time of the accident and bravely kept her stable until the helicopter arrived. An amazing team of doctors performed emergency surgery to repair her spine and stabilize her. Amy's spinal cord was completely severed at the T11 vertebrae, but, miraculously, a broken vertebrae stopped within millimeters of rupturing her aorta, and she did not suffer any head trauma. 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. She has made at least one male nurse blush. Amy's attitude has been overwhelmingly positive and optimistic. She has been far more of a comfort to us than we have been to her.

Amy has a long, trying road ahead of her, but as anyone who knows her can attest, her unparalleled mental strength and determination will propel her. She is a fighter. Amy has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles before, winning 6 Olympic gold medals and becoming one of the greatest female athletes of her generation despite battling lifelong chronic asthma. Now this is her new challenge, her new battle. With the unconditional love and support of her friends, family and fans, Amy welcomes the challenges she will face as she opens this new chapter of her life.

Please keep Amy in your thoughts and prayers.

With love,

The Van Dyken and Rouen families
God, Country, Notre Dame

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