After an Olympic medalist is severely injured in an ATV accident - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

After an Olympic medalist is severely injured in an ATV accident, we take a look at safety precautions

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Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken severely injured in ATV accident, police say she was not wearing a helmet Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken severely injured in ATV accident, police say she was not wearing a helmet
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After an Olympic athlete is severely injured in at all-terrain vehicle accident over the weekend, we're taking a look at what you need to know before you or your loved ones go four-wheeling.

We spent the day at Burning Rock Adventure Park in Raleigh County brushing up on safety tips.

Police said six-time Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken hit a curb in a restaurant parking lot on an ATV on Friday. They said the force of the impact sent her over a 7-foot drop off. Witnesses say she was not wearing a helmet at the time.
General Manager of Burning Rock told us strapping on your helmet is the easiest way to ensure a safe ride.
"When you're talking about safety gear for ATV's the helmet is the number one requirement. You only have one head and they do break. Covering it up with a helmet is a sensible thing to do. Riding atv's in West Virginia or anywhere is a dangerous sport," said Jerry Sweeney.
Novice riders say just like wearing a seatbelt in a motor vehicle, they couldn't imagine not strapping on a helmet to ride an all-terrain vehicle. 

"Any kind of serious sport, you have to put your safety first. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and that's really true," Marie Cattrell told us.

"You never know what you're going to hit out there, there's little rocks that can poke up and you just have to be prepared, you could roll up on it and have water on it and it could pop you up a different way, you just have to be ready for anything," David Cattrell said.
And they say knowing your vehicle can be just as important as wearing your helmet. Van Dyken's husband reportedly told police officers he had changed the throttle mechanism on the ATV from a thumb accelerator to a twist accelerator a few days before the accident.
Every novice rider gets a safety orientation where they get a demonstration of every feauture of tfeaturele as well as a personal ride along with an instructor.
"When we rent out a vehicle we make sure our riders are safe. We will spend the time with them to teach them all about the vehicle and the techniques. We do a ride around with them to make sure that they're comfortable and that we're comfortable with them being safe of the trails," said Sweeney.

Van Dyken had surgery to stabilize her spine. A hospital spokesman says the swimmer is in good condition.