Colorado Olympic swimming champ Amy Van Dyken-Rouen severs spine
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Six-time Olympic gold medalist and Colorado native Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is in an intensive care unit after severing her spine in an all terrain vehicle accident Friday.
Reports say a letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families said she severed her spinal cord at the T11 vertebra. She underwent surgery and her husband, former Broncos punter Tom Rouen, told the Denver Post that Amy was in good spirits Monday.
Van Dyken-Rouen, who graduated from Cherry Creek High School and attended Colorado State University, is at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.
David Van Dyken posted on Facebook that his sister was airlifted to the hospital after being injured in the accident in Show Low, which is about 180 miles from Phoenix in the eastern part of Arizona.
The Arizona Republic reported that according to a report, Show Low Police were dispatched to Torreon Golf Club just before 8 p.m. Friday after receiving a 911 call. Van Dyken-Rouen was conscious but having trouble breathing and without feeling in her legs.
A witness said Van Dyken-Rouen, who was not wearing a helmet, was seen on an ATV going through a parking lot and launched over a curb. The witness said he ran to Van Dyken-Rouen and found her unresponsive.
Tom Rouen was riding a motorcycle and went to her aid after the accident. He says he didn’t see the entire accident unfold, but he thought the ATV possibly rolled over her.
Police said Tom Rouen told them he recently changed the throttle mechanism on the ATV from a thumb accelerator to a twist accelerator. There was no evidence of alcohol being a factor and no charges were filed.
Van Dyken-Rouen won the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly gold medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and was a part of two winning relays. She won two other golds at the 2000 Sydney Games. She was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame in 2008.
Van Dyken-Rouen is a radio talk show host in the Phoenix market and is a former national sports radio host on Fox Sports Radio.
She has tweeted twice since the accident, including a picture from her niece and nephew.