Olympian Van Dyken-Rouen moving to Denver hospital - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Olympian Van Dyken-Rouen moving to Denver hospital

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Amy Van Dyken-Rouen spoke publicly for the first time since she severed her spine in an ATV accident.

The six-time gold medalist severed her spinal cord in an ATV crash near show low less than two weeks ago.

She amazed everyone with her positive attitude on Wednesday.

"Yes, this injury sucks, and yes things hurt, but I'm alive and I'm so thankful to be alive. So that's why I can be positive about it, it helps me to get through the pain," said Van Dyken-Rouen.

People at Wednesday morning's news conference were inspired by her positive attitude.  

She says her physical conditioning as an athlete probably saved her life and it's helping her recover faster than someone who is not in such good shape.

"I'm actually feeling really good, which is surprising," said Van Dyken-Rouen. "I'm excited to get to this new part of my life. It's almost like a rebirth a little bit. I get to learn how to do everything all over again. I'm anxious to do that. It's time to start so that I can get back to Arizona and continue my life." 

Van Dyken-Rouen took a medical flight from Scottsdale to Denver so she can rehab at Craig Hospital, which specializes in spine injures.

She says other people can learn from what happened to her and that her message is just be grateful to be alive.

"Every day you take a breath is a blessing...I'm alive, I made it," said Van Dyken-Rouen.

She says she cannot predict the outcome of what will happen after she finishes rehab, but says her goal is to be independent.

Van Dyken-Rouen regularly posts updates on her condition and how she's feeling on Twitter: @amyvandyken.
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