Olympian Van Dyken-Rouen With Severed Spine Walks

Six time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, who severed her spine in June 2014, posted a video on Instagram of her finally walking again with the help of crutches.

On Friday, former Olympian Van Dyken-Rouen uploaded a video on her Instagram of her using crutches and leg stabilizers to walk, ten months after an ATV accident severed her spine. It has been a long process of constant rehabilitation; it was only a week ago that Van Dyken-Rouen regained physical reflexes in her knees and ankles. The accident, in which she rode an ATV without a helmet and crashed in Show Low, Arizona, severed her spine and left her paralyzed from the waist down — and only after a life saving six hour spinal fusion surgery. Her T11 vertebra was shattered and came millimeters from slicing open her aorta.

Well wishers came pouring in, from current swimming Olympian Breeja Larson to USA Swimming, hoping that Van Dyken-Rouen would get better and trusted her “spunky, boisterous, ebullient self” would get her out of trouble. Ten months after the accident, however, she can walk only with crutches and human aid.

After the accident, Van Dyken-Rouen was inspired to set up the Amy Van Dyken foundation, a nonprofit to help those with spinal cord injuries. The site provides instructional videos for how to adjust to daily life if you have a spinal cord injury, such as smart wheelchair use and proper sleeping practices with immobile legs. She told Pac-12 Networks in a recent interview that she decided to set up an Instagram and post pictures of her progress in an effort to give hope, not only to those with physical injuries, but to anyone who is simply having a bad day.

Van Dyken-Rouen has spent her days rehabilitating, explaining in the interview that she trains harder now to recover her leg use than she ever did for the Olympics.

Van Dyken-Rouen has six Olympic gold medals, four of them won in the 1996 Winter Olympics and the last two in the 2000 Winter Olympics. She also holds a unique spot in a small list of Olympians who only have gold medals.

Enjoy this SkimBash ‘water event’ video, that showcases footage taken of the athletes over their two day competition.  Shot by Clapway straight out of Sea Bright, New Jersey.