State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-Elma) is applauding a recent vote by the New York State Board of Regents to change the high school eligibility rule for inclusive sports.

The board is expanding the age rule for students with developmental disabilities from 19 to 21. Prior to the change, the students who are permitted to attend high school until age 21were not eligible to participate in Unified sports once they turned 19.

“This rule change is long overdue and I commend the Board of Regents for addressing the issue,” Gallivan said. “Giving these young athletes the opportunity to participate alongside their peers is an important part of the education process. Unified athletics promotes good sportsmanship, teamwork and inclusion and allows students to represent their schools with pride.”

Interscholastic Unified Sports is one of the fastest-growing sports movements in the country and joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by the principle that training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

In New York state, Unified sports athletes compete in bowling and basketball.