The Pelham Public Schools announced that Unified Basketball, a varsity-level sport designed specifically to foster the inclusion of students with disabilities in competitive play, will be offered for the first time this spring.
Unified basketball, which is sanctioned under the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, will have a six-game season and compete against other teams from Westchester and the surrounding counties. The five players on the court at any point in time will be a combination of students with and without disabilities. The team will have two coaches and sanctioned referees will officiate each game. At the end of the season, the team may have the chance to compete in a culminating event hosted by Section 1.
Additionally, there will be a student-led committee comprised of students of all ability levels who will seek to promote inclusion, leadership and school spirit for the team and community.
“This is such an exciting opportunity and I am thrilled to be able to bring unified athletics to the Pelham schools,” said Stephen Luciana, director of athletics, physical education and health. “Unified basketball is a great way to increase the engagement of all students in extracurricular activities and provide a chance to play in competitive athletics that is not often available.”
Dr. Cheryl Champ, superintendent of schools added, “The addition of unified basketball is a perfect extension of our goal to provide rich and rewarding experiences to all students who attend the Pelham Public Schools. In addition to giving our students with disabilities additional chances to play competitive sports, unified sports will foster friendships, understanding and strengthen important bonds throughout PMHS and the community.”