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Olympian Amy Van Dyken severs spinal cord, cracks jokes

Sara McGinnis is a slightly mossy Northwest gal living in an otherwise all-male household. She contributes to both the BabyCenter Blog and SheKnows Entertainment, and is a fan of Twitter and Facebook friends. When not tethered to wifi...

Van Dyken comforts her family & friends

Amy Van Dyken isn't letting a little thing like severing her spinal cord get in the way of her upbeat attitude. Here's an update on the swimming champ's condition after her frightening ATV accident.
Olympic Rings
Photo credit: WENN

Amy Van Dyken is holding court from her hospital bed, assuring worried family members and friends she's still in good spirits despite having severed her spinal cord. The former Olympian was involved in a terrifying ATV accident Friday while in Arizona and has been hospitalized in intensive care at Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center ever since.

Although her loved ones are tremendously upset by her injuries, they know the accident could had been even worse for the six-time gold medalist, who is married to former NFL punter Tom Rouen.

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Elaborating on his heroics in the moments after the crash, their families told Swimming World magazine he "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."

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Amazingly, the retired swimmer is in incredibly good spirits.

The letter from her family went on to say, "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."

Here is a look at some of Van Dyken's recent Instagram photos, including a shot from May, before her accident.

From her hospital bed: "Never get us all together anymore. This is amazing. I have the best family."

Also from the hospital: "A drawing from my niece and nephew. They are so sweet. Made me smile. #hospitalsSuck."

Fellow swimmer Ryan Lochte posted on his Facebook feed about Van Dyken's injuries Monday, writing, "Please keep fellow Olympic champion Amy van Dyken in your prayers as she recovers from an ATV accident."

Join us in wishing Amy Van Dyken the best in her recovery!

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