Sun Safety or Sun Smart is the action of a person who follows sun safe guidelines such as applying sunscreen and wearing a hat to protect themselves from the sun which beams Ultraviolet light (UV) onto the person. Sun Safety is a critical issue that must be kept under control in Australia, especially for baseball players due to the regular extreme UV levels (above 10) experienced during SA summers. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to Sun Smart, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 and more than 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year.
What are the health impacts that can be caused by a lack of Sun Safety?
A lack of sun safety is not an unusual occurrence in Australia, particularly in Baseball South Australia. Sun exposure is the cause of around 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanomas in Australia. Skin cancer accounts for over 80% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia each year. Although the sun can cause health impacts physically and genetically, it can also cause health impacts mentally. Decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in what is known as serotonin levels, which can lead to major depression with seasonal pattern. The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical nerve cells produce. It sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It’s the chemical that helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting.
Recommended best practice; Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide
For best protection, the cancer council recommend a combination of sun protection measures. The most common and well-known recommendation is the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide routine. The routine is listed below in order and with what is recommended by each step.
1. Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
2. Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
3. Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
4. Seek shade.
5. Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
Specific baseball examples
An example of this in the scheme of Baseball, could be that a game is played on a day where the temperature is very hot (35 – 37 degrees) and Ultraviolet Light (11 – 14 UV index) is beaming onto players outside on the field. The teams manager is the one who would supply sunscreen and sun protection to players. Having sunscreen in the dugout or in the clubrooms can help improve sun safety in baseball players, but with an increase in encouragement and promotion by club officials, can help spread awareness about sun safety and help improve the way baseball players protect themselves and others from the sun.
Responsibility of Players, Coaches and the Clubs
The responsibility of players, coaches and the clubs are all the same, protection from the sun. Players responsibilities are to encourage teammates and spectators as well as themselves to put on sunscreen, seek shade and keep hydrated as they are athletes who play outside in nearly 40 degree heat with their body being exposed to the sun constantly. Coaches responsibilities are to also encourage their players and spectators but also need to encourage their players to protect themselves from the sun. Sunscreen and hats and sunglasses are all what coaches expect from their players to wear whilst out on the field. Lack of encouragement and promotion from coaches could cause players discomfort or something more dangerous such as passing out from dehydration. The clubs’ responsibility is to make sure that they are organised and have the correct resources and the correct amount (Sunscreen, Shade, Water) of resources for players and club officials. Clubs’ responsibilities are to also promote awareness and encouragement to put on sunscreen by having bottles of sunscreen in the dugout and around the club for players, coaches and club officials to use freely.