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Amy Van Dyken-Rouen on making steps in her recovery: 'Change is good'

Paralyzed Olympian Amy Van Dyken talks about her breakthroughs in recovery and her love of TODAY's puppy, Wrangler.
/ Source: TODAY

Amy Van Dyken-Rouen has spent close to a year of hard work in her inspiring recovery after being paralyzed in an ATV accident in June 2014, and shared with TODAY that she is seeing some encouraging changes.

The Olympic gold medalist swimmer said she is feeling reflexes in her knees and ankles for the first time since the incident.

"We don't know what this means, but change is good,'' Van Dyken-Rouen told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday. "I will grab it, and I will not let that go."

Van Dyken-Rouen also has been able to walk on crutches with the help of a special exoskeleton.

"It wasn't me walking by myself but it was a huge step,'' she said. "What this shows is I've got enough core strength, which I'm not supposed to have, to be able to hold myself up. I'm getting things back that no ever thought I would get back."

She also is working to raise awareness and research funds for spinal cord injuries through her work with her own Amy's Army foundation and now also Team Reeve, which is part of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in memory of the late "Superman actor."

Helping to brighten Van Dyken-Rouen's mornings during her recovery is her new favorite puppy, TODAY's own Wrangler.

"I follow him on Twitter,'' she said. "I can't wait for his tweets first thing in the morning. He's just adorable. I love him. If he goes missing, he may be in my purse."

We have a feeling Wrangler loved meeting Van Dyken-Rouen as well.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+.