PHOENIX — Home, Arizona, is on the horizon for gold-medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, she told a popular national morning show Friday.
Van Dyken-Rouen appeared on the “Today” show in New York, cheerful and positive as usual, with her husband, former NFL punter Tom Rouen.
“After this week … home,” she said. “The whole time I was in rehab I’ve been preparing for (return home) for sure.”
She said friends of her husband had been revamping their Scottsdale home for wheelchair access and other adjustments.
Van Dyken-Rouen was paralyzed from the waist down in an ATV accident near Show Low, Arizona, in early June. The family had been on vacation. Van Dyken-Rouen said she hadn’t been home May 30.
The ensuing months have been filled with pain, hard work and resoluteness. She set a goal of walking again. “I think I can,” Van Dyken-Rouen said.
She has been working with a muscle-activation specialist who “helped me get back to the Olympics after two shoulder surgeries. Why can’t he get me back up on my feet now?” Photos she posted to her social-media accounts show her upright and taking steps with assistance just a couple of weeks ago.
The accident has reawakened her spirituality. “You’re like, you know what, there’s something bigger and better than me.”
She said immediately after the accident, there was “a whitish, green … hue around me and I felt very, very at peace. I remember just kind of going through it and then all of a sudden I woke up and I’m in the hospital.
“I don’t know what it was … was it the ‘tunnel’? I don’t know.”