Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Van Dyken-Rouen sitting up in hospital bed

Associated Press Updated: June 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Olympic champion swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen sat up in her hospital bed for the first time since severing her spinal cord in an all-terrain vehicle accident.

The six-time gold medalist posted two photos on Instagram on Tuesday, one a selfie of her in bed and another of her sitting up with help from two hospital workers. She wore a back brace and had a couple of scratches on her face in the photos.

She was in good condition Tuesday, but her family asked that no more details be released as she recovers, hospital spokeswoman Alice Giedraitis said.

"Doing great today," Van Dyken-Rouen said in one post. "My room is the most decorated in ICU. Thx for ur thoughts & prayers!"

The 41-year-old swimmer was injured Friday night when she hit a curb while riding an ATV near Show Low and flew off a drop-off of 5 to 7 feet, according to a police report.

Van Dyken-Rouen told emergency workers on the scene she could not move her toes or feel anything on her legs. She was airlifted to a Scottsdale hospital and had surgery to stabilize her spine.

Her family said the spinal cord severed at the T11 vertebrae, and the broken vertebrae came within millimeters of rupturing her aorta.

At the 1996 Atlanta Games, when she competed as Van Dyken, she became the first U.S. woman to win four gold medals at one Olympics. She captured the 50-meter freestyle and 100 butterfly and was on winning relay teams in the 400 free and 400 medley.

Four years later at Sydney, she added two more golds in the 400 free and 400 medley relays before retiring.

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