Amy Van Dyken is ‘rocking and rolling’ in her continued recovery

SCOTTSDALE – Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken said she’s “rocking and rolling” in her recovery as she learns to walk again, more than a year after injuring her spine in an ATV accident.

She recently took 50 steps, a feat that she said took more work and determination than training for the Olympics.

She can now walk on her own with braces, lift her legs and straighten her knee, tasks that seemed impossible when she was first diagnosed with a severe spinal injury.

Van Dyken was injured June 6, 2014, in an all-terrain vehicle accident. At first, doctors thought her spinal cord had been completely severed. But they discovered later it was a partial tear and she has been working hard at physical therapy ever since.

“I’ll tell you what, I took 50 steps not too long ago and there was more crying and cussing and sweating than during any practice I ever did for the Games,” she said Thursday after appearing at an event in Scottsdale promoting water conservation through solar power, in light of a new study by water expert Herb Guenther.

“I didn’t realize the correlation between the sun, energy and water,” she said. “Obviously, as a swimmer, water is very important to my life, to my livelihood, but it’s important to all of us.”