Abby Dunkin: The dream begins

From an early age Abby Dunkin was a very accomplished athlete. She was a second-degree Black belt in Karate, and she had become a starter for the San Antonio-Canyon High School Varsity Girls` Basketball team.

When she was in middle-school she was diagnosed with what doctors thought to be RSD, a rare nervous disorder that caused pains in her legs. Abby continued to play sports throughout her high school career until eventually her symptoms worsened, and she developed Dysautonomy which is a malfunction of her nervous system. In the midst of her junior year she went from being a starter to watching the games from the sidelines in a wheelchair. She recalls being in a very negative state of mind, and because of this her parents searched online and found San Antonio ParaSports, and she was invited to try Wheelchair Basketball alongside some of the recovering soldiers at Fort Sam Houston. She fell in love with the sport almost immediately, and from there she was invited to try out for the San Antonio ParaSport Spurs. Dunkin made it onto their roster on a team of older men that she referred to as “her brothers”, and the team referred to Dunkin as their “little sister”.

Abby Dunkin San Antonio

Abby Dunkin plays for San Antonio. Photo by Melissa Krastas-Dunkin

Besides her immediate impact on the court, a new chapter began for Dunkin after being presented with a Track Chair. She remembers the words that were spoken at that moment to her, “Get in. You`re racing.” And so began a new journey for Dunkin.

In late 2013 the University Interscholastic League (UIL) voted to add Wheelchair Track & Field to the State Track meet beginning in spring of 2014. At first going to compete at the State Track Meet was not her goal, but when she became more familiar with the sport the State Meet became one of her goals. Abby was one of 12 participants in the state of Texas that met the qualifications. There would be three events the 100m, 400m, and the Shot-put. “I just remember I was at the starting line of the first 100 meter race my [qualifying]time was in second my adrenaline was rising I knew there was 20,000 people in the stands, and as soon as I heard the gun go off, and I just start going, and I don`t want to look behind me, or to the side, because I want to keep focused on what`s in front of me. As soon as I crossed the finish line I looked up, and not only did I win, but I beat my [time]by 2 seconds”, said Dunkin. She was immediately surrounded by media and fans as soon as she won. She remembers looking up in the stands to see fans holding back tears of admiration for the athletes. “It was more than the gold, it was more than the medal, it was bigger than me, it was bigger than my friends I competed against, and you could just see this was the start of something bigger.” She swept the other two events of the 2014 State Track Meet.

Inspiration will light the way for Dunkin. For her this was just the start of an amazing career. She will always be an amazing athlete, and there is no doubt about that.

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