Olympic swimmer severs spine in Arizona accident

Olympic gold medalist and swimmer Any Van Dyken-Rouen suffered a spinal cord injury in an Arizona accident on June 6. The 41-year-old was riding an ATV in front of her husband who was on a motorcycle as the two were coming home after dinner. Her ATV apparently hit a curb and went over an embankment. It was not clear from reports what caused the ATV to go into the curb.
Dyken-Rouen’s spine was reportedly severed in the crash, and her husband told reporters that she was not breathing immediately after the accident. She was taken to the hospital by helicopter and is currently recovering from surgery in Osborn Medical Center.

A letter released by the the gold medalist’s family stated that her T11 vertebrae was completely severed in the accident and stopped just short of hitting the aorta. She reportedly told emergency responders that she was not able to feel her legs after the accident, but it was not clear whether she was paralyzed. The family’s letter said that the recovery would be a “long, trying road” and praised Dyken-Rouen for her “strength and determination.”

Spinal cord injuries can be one of the most devastating types of injuries and can mean multiple surgeries, months of rehabilitative therapy and lifelong complications. When a spinal cord injury is the result of a car accident caused by a negligent driver, a slip and fall or a product defect, victims may be able to file suit against the at-fault party in an attempt to get monetary compensation for medical bills and equipment, pain and suffering and/or lost income.