On June 6, former gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken's life changed forever following an ATV wreck in which she severed her spinal chord. While doctors were able to perform surgery to save Amy's life, she was left paralyzed below the waist, with no feeling at all in her legs or toes. Despite the huge setback for such a successful athlete, Amy's spirits have not dampened - in large part due to the outlet of social media.
Before Amy had fully recovered and awoke from her surgery, her husband and former NFL kicker Tom Rouen placed her cell phone in her hands, knowing how important sharing her life through social media had become to Amy. Unbeknownst to Tom at the time, that small gesture may have made a world of difference in Amy's route to recovery.
''She sends stuff out there and gets so much positive energy and positive feedback that I really think it helps her a whole lot. It's also been good to be able to have a distraction with everything that's going on,'' stated Rouen.
Simply hours after her initial surgery following the accident, Van Dyken was posting to her Instagram account, sharing a picture of her family and her dislike of hospitals with the rest of the world:
Of course, Amy is not only benefitting through the catharsis of revealing her own thoughts and emotions to her fans. Van Dyken has been on the receiving end of many kind words and gestures, pieces of daily communication that Van Dyken no longer takes for granted: ''It's blowing me away. It truly is. I've gotten a lot of messages sending me thoughts, prayers, positive vibes. I feel them. It's helping me and I just want to say thank you to everyone.''
So far, all the hard work and well-wishes have paid off, as Van Dyken heard perhaps her best news in quite some time on Tuesday:
— Amy Van Dyken-Rouen (@amyvandyken) June 24, 2014
Image via Instagram