Amy Van Dyken-Rouen may not be paralyzed, will transfer to Craig Hospital for rehab after ATV crash

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Colorado Olympic-gold medal swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen may not be paralyzed after an ATV crash.

After the crash, Van Dyken-Rouen's family told Swimming World Magazine, "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."

Van Dyken-Rouen tweeted Thursday morning that she was told her spinal cord was severed, but she got an MRI to confirm.

"Either way, I'm here which is amazing," Van Dyken-Rouen tweeted.

She tweeted that the MRI took 5.5 hours.

"Was in MRI until 4:00am today (started at 11:30pm) did whole spine and brain, and so far, so good. Yes, I have a brain! LOL #BabySteps," Van Dyken-Rouen wrote on Twitter.

Van Dyken-Rouen's husband, former Broncos punter Tom Rouen, told our partners at the Denver Post, the family does not know if Amy will be paralyzed.

"We're not sure yet," Rouen said. "We're going to take it day by day. Whatever challenges come up, we'll meet them and address."

Van Dyken-Rouen tweeted Wednesday that she is coming to back to Colorado to do her rehabilitation work at Craig Hospital.

"I'll be doing my rehab at #CragiHospital in Denver. Taking @angel_medflight there. I'll video it all 4 U2 C," Van Dyken-Rouen wrote.

Van Dyken-Rouen said she may need one more surgery before she leaves Arizona. In the meantime, she's been tweeting photos and messages to fans and friends since Sunday.

"Hello everyone. I cannot express how much your love and support are helping me. #blessyouall…," Van Dyken-Rouen wrote Wednesday.  "Just thinking out loud..Now I will get really good seats at @Dbacks and other favorite sports teams. #awesome #bringMyOwnChair #goodParking2"

-- Van Dyken-Rouen's recovery--

"You hear this term, 'severed spine,' that she's not going to walk again, but there's actually a reasonably good chance that she'll be able to walk again," said Dr. Venu Akuthota, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at University of Colorado Hospital. "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 aides; they might have to have a brace or crutches or other devices."

He described the step-by-step process she'll likely have to endure to be able to use her legs again.

"Before you even get to the stage of learning to walk, you have to learn to transfer from a bed to a wheelchair and then you have to learn how to transfer from that sitting position to a standing position," said Akuthota. "I think being an athlete's going to help her quite a bit because she'll have the perseverance to really stay with the rehabilitation. She'll know what it takes to go to a limit and then beyond."

-- ATV crash--

A report by the Show Low Police Department said the ATV that Van Dyken-Rouen was driving hit a curb in a restaurant parking lot and sent her over a drop-off between 5 to 7 feet.

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