When Olympic swimmer and former world record holder Amy Van Dyken-Rouen lost all feeling in her feet and legs after a near-fatal ATV accident in June, there was no doubt in her mind that she would walk again. Paralyzed from the waist down with a severed spine, Van Dyken-Rouen made an appearance on The Today Show 21 days after the accident and proclaimed her ultimate goal was to walk by August.
After undergoing intense physical therapy for seven hours every day, and with the support of her family and husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, Van Dyken-Rouen took her first steps last week and was released from the hospital.
She posted several videos to Instagram documenting the moment when she officially took her first steps with the help of a walker and a bionic exoskeleton device. One caption read: “Here it is…#onestepatatime #itcouldhappen#itcouldhappen.”
Van Dyken-Rouen, 41, has won six gold medals, including four at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, becoming the first American female athlete to win four medals in a single year.