After Olympic champion Amy Van Dyken-Rouen severed her spinal cord in an accident last year, doctors weren’t sure if she’d survive.
Except now she’s standing on her own again for the first time.
When the six-time gold medal swimmer was paralyzed below the waist last year by severing her spinal cord in an ATV crash, her prognosis was not very good.
"I looked at my husband and basically said, I love you. Good-bye. Please continue on with your life,” Van Dyken-Rouen said on “Good Morning America.”
She narrowly survived, but doctors believed she would never regain use of her legs. Van Dyken-Rouen, though, refused to accept that she would never walk or swim again.
Eleven months later, Van Dyken-Rouen posted a video on her Instagram of her standing up on her own for the very first time with the caption, “I’m starting to get this standing thing down.”
Throughout her recovery, Van Dyken-Rouen has served as an advocate for those with spinal cord injuries.
“Everyone has obstacles,” she said. “It’s how we take those obstacles and do something positive.”
During her months-long hospital stay, she began sharing her long road to recovery, including getting back into the pool.
“The toughest thing? I’ll say the first time I went into the swimming pool,” she said, “because I was like, ‘I’m not doing therapy, I’m swimming laps.’”
In recent weeks she’s marked milestones such as riding a bike unassisted and getting fitted for braces.
“She’s been incredibly inspirational,” her husband Tom Rouen said. “She’s never let down through this whole thing.”
Walking is just the first step of many, Van Dyken-Rouen maintained.
“I feel like I’m going to do everything,” she said. “I’m going to ride bikes, I'm going to mountain climb and get my driver’s license.”