Former Olympic swimming champion Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is recovering following surgery to stabilize her spine after it was severed during an all-terrain vehicle accident in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Friday, according to Jeff Metcalfe of azcentral.com.
The 41-year-old six-time Olympic gold medalist told emergency personnel she had no feeling in her legs or toes, per The Associated Press, which reported that she severed her spine (via ESPN.com). Fortunately, she is said to be in good condition despite the seriousness of her injury and the circumstances of the accident.
According to a letter from the Van Dyken-Rouen families, she severed her spine at the T11 vertebrae, which came just a few millimeters from potentially rupturing her aorta.
The injury occurred when Van Dyken-Rouen struck a curb while riding the ATV in a parking lot outside of a restaurant. The impact sent her over a five- to seven-foot drop-off, according to a police report, and she was not wearing a helmet at the time.