Amy Van Dyken-Rouen arrives at Craig Hospital

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen arrived at Craig Hospital Wednesday afternoon to begin extensive rehabilitation for her severed spine.

Van Dyken-Rouen, 41, was transported to the medical facility, which specializes in spinal cord injury recovery, by Angel MedFlight, Craig Hospital said in a release.

She will join about 40 other patients with similar injuries hailing from across the nation in the hospital's specialized rehab program, the hospital added.

The Olympic champion swimmer is from Colorado. She attended Cherry Creek High School.

Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, Tom Rouen and Kuma

Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, Tom Rouen and Kuma

She says she decided to come to Craig Hospital in Englewood because, "it's the best of the best."

Van Dyken-Rouen was airlifted to the hospital after being injured in an ATV accident in Show Low, which is about 180 miles from Phoenix in the eastern part of Arizona.

According to a report, Show Low Police were dispatched to Torreon Golf Club just before 8 p.m. June 6 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.

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, who is a radio talk show host in the Phoenix market, spoke with Phoenix media before departing for Colorado.

"I’m excited to get this new part of my life," Van Dyken-Rouen said at Wednesday's media conference. "It’s almost like a rebirth. I get to learn how to do everything all over again, I’m anxious to do that."

The former Olympian wasn't even sure she'd get to this point in the recovery process.

"There was a good chance I wasn’t going to make it out of surgery," Van Dyken-Rouen continued. "So it was one of those things where I looked at my husband and we basically said I love you, goodbye, please continue on with your life."

Thankful for the public out pour of support, she said she's ready to start the intensive rehabilitation so she can get back to her life in Arizona. And, while she's had many bad days thus far, she stressed that staying positive, no matter the outcome, is the only way to keep moving forward.

"You can  get through anything as long as you’ve got a positive attitude," Van Dyken-Rouen. "Once you have that negative attitude, you  kind of go down that rabbit hole and it’s really hard to get out."

Watch Van Dyken-Rouen talk about her recovery and coming to Colorado:



    • dougsmith42

      If she admits to taking steroids during her swimming career and that NOT wearing a helmet while riding an ATV was stupid, then I will show some sympathy. Until then, WHO CARES. And why should I respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves?

      • thisismyboomstick

        Two points for your less than thoughtful consideration. 1) “Van Dyken testified before a grand jury about BALCO but was never targeted in the government’s investigation. She has since denied any wrongdoing and has never been implicated in a doping scandal.”

        2) If you’d pay attention to the description of her injuries you’ll see she doesn’t have a head injury and a helmet wouldn’t have done her any good because her spinal fracture is at t-11 which is mid-back.

      • Anonymous

        Who are you ? It’s people like you that make what she’s saying and doing more inspirational ! Karma is coming your way

      • Anonymous

        I recently suffered the Exact same injury , but unlike the media pig Amy – I am not afforded a private jet to a high end rehab. Facility. I didn’t chose to do something stupid, then act like a “hero”. She needs to shut up- you are nothing special

  • Brenda

    Will never understand why some people in this world are so cruel and evil. Amy is positive force and inspiration for many people, most notably veterans with brain and spinal cord injuries. Wish her only the best in her recovery!! Thoughts and prayers to you Amy!!

  • David

    I graduated from High School with Amy and have the highest respect for her. She is a true champion and exemplifies greatness. I lost my best friend Joe to a motorcycle accident and miss him very much. I’m thankful Amy made it through this accident and wish her a speedy recovery! I’m hoping she can find her new role in life just like David Bailey.

  • cathi hess

    I wish her the best. But what about the every day people who have the same injuries and get NO notice or help to recover at the ‘best’ rehab? Why do only the ‘famous’ get attention? Myhusband never got that treatment or notice . He is a vet and got nothing in the way of help that I did not find! Makes us angry!!!!

  • M. DiPippo

    Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, all the best with your speedy revovery with your spine at Craig Hospital.

    • Anonymous

      I did not realize that spitting on competitors, taking steroids, and being overtly loud was a reason to admire someone- Lots of regular people are not afforded the same treatment …..

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