Chinese gymnast miraculously recovers after breaking her neck

Chinese gymnast Wang Yan is making a "truly miraculous" recovery after breaking her neck in a horrific fall at last month's national championships and has regained some ability to move her arm and legs, reports said Thursday.

Wang, 16, fell on her head on June 10 while performing a routine on the uneven bars at the national titles in Shanghai, a key test ahead of next year's Beijing Summer Olympics.

Her second and third vertebrae were fractured, an injury that doctors quoted in Chinese reports said results in death in 98.5 percent of cases.

However, just weeks later, Wang has been moved out of intensive care at Shanghai's No. 6 People's Hospital and is able to lift her legs and right arm above her body, the Liberation Daily newspaper reported.

"Those on the scene were pleasantly surprised. To recover to this level is truly miraculous," the paper said.

Doctors operated June 19 to repair the fractures and have ordered a three-month program of six hours of daily physical rehabilitation exercises and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which forces more oxygen into the bloodstream and is believed to speed recovery of chronic injuries.

"She has managed to conquer the most dangerous period," hospital doctor Tan Shensheng was quoted as saying by the newspaper Shanghai Daily.

Wang's injury is similar to one suffered by Chinese gymnast Sang Lan at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York. Sang broke her neck making a practice vault and is confined to a wheelchair.

Just days after Wang's injury, national team volleyball player Tang Miao broke his neck crashing into a barrier as he was trying to keep a ball from going out of bounds in a match in St. Petersburg, Russia.