Scottsdale, AZ, United States (4E Sports) – Amy Van Dyken Rouen, a six-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, sustained a serve spinal cord and is currently in intensive-care unit after an all-terrain vehicle accident.
Amy’s husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, said she suffered a broken back after she was launched over a curb while driving the ATV in a parking lot.
She was airlifted to Osborn Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery to repair her spine and stabilize her, according to a letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families posted online by Swimming World magazine.
“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 family said.
“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,” the letter added.
Rouen became the first U.S. woman to win four gold medals at one Olympics. She overcame asthma to win the 50-meter freestyle and 100 butterfly at the 1996 Olympics. She also was on two winning relay teams. Rouen added two more Olympic relay golds in 2000.