Former Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen is recovering in a hospital after she severed her spine in an all-terrain vehicle accident near Phoenix on Friday. A police report said that the ATV the six-time gold medalist was driving smashed into a curb, sending the decorated athlete down a five- to seven-foot embankment. She was not wearing a helmet and couldn't move her legs after the crash.
Her husband, former NFL punter Tom Rouen, detailed the scary scene immediately following the accident. "She wasn't breathing," he said. "I raised up the back of her neck with my hand, she started gasping for air."
The 41-year-old, who made history in 1996 when she became the first female American athlete to win four gold medals in one Olympics, was immediately airlifted to a medical center and rushed into surgery. She is said to be in good condition despite her severe injuries and is expected to remain in the intensive care unit for the next few days.