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Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

A photo shared on Amy Van Dyken's Instagram account. Additional photos and more below.
A photo shared on Amy Van Dyken's Instagram account. Additional photos and more below.

Update: Amy Van Dyken, who severed her spine in an ATV accident on Friday (see our previous coverage below), confirms that she'll be relocating from Arizona to her home state of Colorado in order to rehab at Craig hospital in Denver. In the meantime, she continues to amaze with social media posts that exhibit a sense of humor sure to help her immeasurably as she takes the first of what she hashtags as #BabySteps.

When not undergoing medical tests and treatments, Van Dyken has kept busy feeding her Instagram account. Here's a shot of her being visited by members of her book club....

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

...and posing with a balloon bouquet from her sister's office:

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

In addition, she shared the following shot, described like so: "My doctor gave me his game plan. #pillowart."

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

She revealed news about coming to Denver, where many of her family members continue to live, in the following tweet:

This morning, she added this update:

Steps are her goal, of course, and doctors believe she's got a chance to walk again. Until that day comes, however, she has a plan:

We hope Van Dyken roots for the Rockies, too. They need all the help they can get.

Continue for our previous report about Amy Van Dyken's accident, including photos, videos and a letter from her family.

A photo from Amy Van Dyken's Instagram account. Video and more photos below.
A photo from Amy Van Dyken's Instagram account. Video and more photos below.

Update, 5:43 a.m. June 11: Yesterday, we told you about an ATV accident that severed the spine of Colorado-born Amy Van Dyken, a six-time Olympic gold medal swimmer; see our previous coverage below.

Now, Van Dyken has checked in via Instagram from her hospital room with upbeat images that are underscored by hope she may someday be able to walk again.

Van Dyken has a vigorous social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, where yesterday she posted a new profile pic that illustrates the support she's received since flipping an ATV near her Scottsdale home last Friday:

Amy Van Dyken's new Facebook profile pic.
Amy Van Dyken's new Facebook profile pic.

She's also posted this inspirational graphic....

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

...and the following tweet, which shows her sense of humor remains in excellent shape:

Still, the post that's gotten the most attention is this image combo from Instagram:

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

The caption accompanying these shots reads: "Doing great today. My room is the most decorated in ICU. Thx for ur thoughts & prayers!"

In the meantime, doctors are doing their best to address Van Dyken's medical issues. According to a letter from the families of Van Dyken and her husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen (it's on view below in its entirety), "Amy's spinal cord was completely severed at the T11 vertebrae, but, miraculously, a broken vertebrae stopped within millimeters of rupturing her aorta, and she did not suffer any head trauma."

Another photo posted by Van Dyken.
Another photo posted by Van Dyken.

Not long ago, such an injury would have guaranteed that Van Dyken would never walk again. But advances in medical technology lead CU professor Dr. Venu Akuthota, speaking to 7News, to say, "There's actually a reasonably good chance that she'll be able to walk again..... Usually, they do have some degree of nerve functions, so they do have some muscles that they can use. They often can walk again using some aids. They might have to have a brace or crutches or other devices."

This theme is also struck by a CBS News report about Van Dyken's recovery efforts. See it below, followed by our previous coverage.

Continue for our previous report about Amy Van Dyken's accident, including photos, videos and a letter from her family.

Amy Van Dyken in an image from her Facebook page. Videos and more photos below.
Amy Van Dyken in an image from her Facebook page. Videos and more photos below.

Original post, 5:42 a.m. June 10: When word first broke that Colorado-born six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken was in an Arizona intensive care unit following an ATV accident, the news seemed serious but not necessarily dire. Then came word from Van Dyken's family that her spinal cord had been completely severed in the incident -- meaning that one of the most incredible athletes this state has ever produced is now facing the biggest challenge of her life.

Van Dyken was born in the Denver area -- her Facebook page, from which the photos in this post are drawn, lists her hometown as Littleton -- and began swimming as therapy for asthma attacks.

A recent photo of Van Dyken from her Facebook page.
A recent photo of Van Dyken from her Facebook page.

To say she took to the sport is a massive understatement; years before Missy Franklin came along, she was Colorado's biggest-ever swimming star. She nearly made the U.S. Olympics squad in 1992, then took the country by storm four years later, becoming the first American female athlete to bring home four gold medals during a single games. She won two more golds in 2000.

Videos below from Colorado State University, which Van Dyken attended, and the U.S. Olympics Hall of Fame offer a good overview of a spectacular career.

Amy Van Dyken and Tom Rouen in a photo posted on Facebook in March.
Amy Van Dyken and Tom Rouen in a photo posted on Facebook in March.

Van Dyken didn't fade from the limelight after her competitive swimming days were done. She married former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen and was a regular presence on local radio stations before landing a position at Fox Sports Radio. That gig ended in December, her Facebook page notes, but she continued to have a presence in the media, as indicated by this June 3 photo of her on a Fox Sports shoot with weightlifter Holley Mangold:

Holley Mangold and Amy Van Dyken.
Holley Mangold and Amy Van Dyken.

She remained in great shape, with many Facebook photos depicting workouts. Here's one example....

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

...and another:

Update: Amy Van Dyken will return to Colorado to do her rehab in Denver

Then, this past Friday, Van Dyken's life was changed forever.

Continue for more about Amy Van Dyken's accident, including videos and additional photos.

Amy Van Dyken behind the microphone, in a Facebook photo.
Amy Van Dyken behind the microphone, in a Facebook photo.

The Denver Post reports that Van Dyken was riding an ATV near her home in the Scottsdale, Arizona area when the vehicle hit a curb, flipped and rolled down an embankment. Rouen rushed to her aid and was able to get her breathing, after which a paramedic who happened upon the scene rendered assistance until she could be choppered to a hospital.

The story from there is told by a letter from the Van Dyken and Rouen families shared with Swimming World Magazine. It reads:

Dear Friends and Family,

On Friday night our sister, daughter, and wife, Amy Van Dyken Rouen, was emergency airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center after an ATV accident in Show Low, AZ. Her husband, Tom, was with her at the time of the accident and bravely kept her stable until the helicopter arrived. An amazing team of doctors performed emergency surgery to repair her spine and stabilize her. Amy's spinal cord was completely severed at the T11 vertebrae, but, miraculously, a broken vertebrae stopped within millimeters of rupturing her aorta, and she did not suffer any head trauma. 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. 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.

Amy has a long, trying road ahead of her, but as anyone who knows her can attest, her unparalleled mental strength and determination will propel her. She is a fighter. Amy has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles before, winning 6 Olympic gold medals and becoming one of the greatest female athletes of her generation despite battling lifelong chronic asthma. Now this is her new challenge, her new battle. With the unconditional love and support of her friends, family and fans, Amy welcomes the challenges she will face as she opens this new chapter of her life.

Please keep Amy in your thoughts and prayers.

With love,

The Van Dyken and Rouen families

Another recent Van Dyken portrait on Facebook.
Another recent Van Dyken portrait on Facebook.

Among those wishing Van Dyken well are the folks at USA Swimming, who shared the following statement with Swimming World Magazine:

The USA Swimming family is devastated to learn of Amy Van Dyken's unfortunate accident this weekend. We're happy to hear that she escaped and is now in great care. That she is already "acting like her typical spunky, boisterous, ebullient self" shows she's on a great path. Amy is a champion who has proven throughout her life that she is a fighter who takes on challenges and comes out on top. We know Amy will tackle her rehabilitation with vigor and be back on her feet sooner rather than later.

We send our best thoughts as well.

Here are the aforementioned CSU and Olympics Hall of Fame videos, followed by one from Van Dyken's YouTube channel showing an impromptu workout.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Sports archive circa August 2012: "Photo: Missy Franklin's new tattoo and hometown celebration plans."


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