Darlene Hunter

Wheelchair Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2024  –  Saudi Arabia

Dr. Darlene Hunter has a long career in athletics as a three-time Paralympic athlete in women’s wheelchair basketball. Dr. Hunter was on the USA National Team from 2010-2016 and 2019-2021; winning a gold medal in 2016 and a bronze medal in 2020. In addition, she has helped to establish the intercollegiate women’s wheelchair basketball program at both The University of Arizona and The University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to playing women’s wheelchair basketball, Dr. Hunter was an elite track athlete. She acquired a spinal cord injury at the age of four which resulted in her being a paraplegic; paralyzed from the waist down.

Dr. Hunter was the CEO of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) (2022-2023) expanding wheelchair basketball opportunities throughout the United States. Prior to taking on the CEO position with the NWBA, Dr. Hunter was the chair of the women’s division within the NWBA for 10 years, as well as the athlete representative of wheelchair basketball for The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She helped to increase the number of women’s teams within the division from six teams to the current sixteen teams.

In service to the disabled community, Dr. Hunter established a women’s wheelchair basketball camp at The University of Texas at Arlington. It is the only women’s camp in the US that is free to attend. The purpose of the camp was to establish a place where women can come together in sport, but to build a support system, practice independence and be mentored by other women in the sport. We wanted women to see others in the workplace, have a family, and experience life on a university campus. In addition, Dr. Hunter holds board positions at several other adaptive sports non-profits creating sport opportunities for those with physical disabilities. In 2017, Dr. Hunter was named as Toyota’s Everyday Hero for her work to broaden and grow the game in women’s sports.

Dr. Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a double minor in political science and special education from the University of Arizona. In addition, two master’s degrees in public health and social work from The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and a Ph.D. in Family Studies from Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Dr. Hunter is a licensed master’s social worker and is a professor teaching disability and social work at UTA.