Paralyzed Olympian Amy Van Dyken-Rouen Walks Again Thanks to Robotic Harness

Dan CarsonTrending Lead WriterAugust 21, 2014


Once again, cutting-edge technology is changing the lives of those living with impaired motor function. 

Two months after the world watched a disabled teen in a robotic exoskeleton kick the first ball at the World Cup in Brazil, a paralyzed former Olympian is regaining her feet thanks to a set of bionic legs. 

Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen lost her ability to walk in June after an ATV accident left her paralyzed from the waist down.

The former butterfly and freestyle champ severed her spinal cord after flipping over an embankment and has used a wheelchair ever since. Thanks to new prosthetic technology, however, Van Dyken-Rouen is up and moving again.

Thursday—after nearly three months of treatment and rehab—Van Dyken-Rouen posted pictures and video to Instagram of herself taking her first post-accident steps.

Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky spotted the images, which show Van Dyken-Rouen standing and walking with the help of a walker and powered orthosis (exoskeleton brace).

Optimism abounds in Van Dyken-Rouen’s Instagram captions. 

“Here it is…I’m WALKING!!! #onestepatatime #itcould happen,” she writes.

She also managed to stand next to her husband for the first time in two-and-a-half months.

Van Dyken-Rouen has a long road to full recovery—if such a thing is possible in this case. Her attitude, however, remains undaunted. She’s pumped to be stomping around in her new, bionic legs. 

“Who’s excited to be walking around with an exoskeleton?” Van Dyken-Rouen tweeted Thursday. “This chick!”


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