2016 U.S. Paralympic gold medalist Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, never could have dreamed her life would take the course it did. In 2013, Dunkin was experiencing chronic pain in her legs that later stole her ability to walk without the use of a cane. She was diagnosed with Fiber Neuropathy Autoimmune Dysautonomia, a condition that results from damage to nerves that assist in organ system functioning. She spent the better half of her senior year in a wheelchair. However, she did not allow the pain to overcome her athletic abilities. She won a state championship in shot put that year and three years later she made her first U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball team.
In 2016, at just 20-years-old, Dunkin went on to help Team USA win gold in Rio. She currently plays at the University of Texas at Arlington and will be heading into her senior year for the Mavericks. UTA reigns at the top with the most Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. Dunkin is studying Kinesiology with a minor in Disability Studies. She feels right at home at UTA with their winning culture and elite style of play.
‘‘UTA has such a great culture. Everyone loves to represent Team USA and is very supportive of all of us on the national team. I am grateful to have campus support and teammates that motivate me; it’s very humbling and very exciting for all that we are doing,” added Dunkin.
One of the 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp took place at UTA where Dunkin was able to show the women the Maverick’s facilities and lifestyle. Being a part of Team USA for Dunkin has changed her life. She notes it has been one of the most humbling experiences and she enjoys all of her teammates and simply being out on the court with them. Dunkin has big plans for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.