Did your Young Athletes Accumulate Too Much Sun Exposure? As the time spent practicing and participating in the sport continues through the days, weeks, and months, there is a good deal of time outside in the sun.
As these young athletes accumulate too much sun exposure over many days, the damage is often disregarded.
Young athletes are used to receiving instructions about how to stay healthy while training and learning their sport. However, the instruction is usually how to avoid injury, or how to keep energy levels up. Reminding the young athlete about drinking water and staying hydrated.
Warming up their muscles and cooling down at the end of practice or a game are all covered. A natural-seeming part of the training and coaching.
However, there is little to help these young athletes avoid too much sun.
Your youngster may know how to operate the most sophisticated exercise equipment in a safe manner. Yet not have a clue about protecting themselves from too much sun.
Young athletes need to know how to stay safe from sun-related issues that can be serious for their health and well-being.
Is This Because Damage Is Accumulated?
It is true that the more harmful effects of solar radiation are seen over the passing years. Only in the more serious situations are you aware you have had too much sun. You can play your chosen sport, and function in most cases even after enough sun is creating ongoing skin damage.
Coaches and trainers don’t emphasize the importance of protection from the sun. Staying safe in the sun while participating in sports isn’t usually on their radar.
They may not all know the dangers themselves. Many are in the millennial age group, and there seems to be little awareness among this age group of people.
Considering that this millennial age group will include most young athletes’ parents, there is work to be done in awareness.
Coolibar Gives This Information About Sun Accumulation
They share with us that your young athlete will about 23% of their lifetime damage by age 18.
To me as a grandparent now is that the number of skin cancer, in younger patients is increasing. This brings the risk factors to your kids. The numbers are shifting and showing that young people should be more concerned about their early exposure as there are more melanomas showing up in young people.
- From ages 1 to 18 they have 23% of their sun damage
- Then from 19 to 40, they will probably have 47%
- From ages 41 to 59, 74% of their sun damage appears
- From age 50 to 78, there will still be 26% happening
Do you find the results of still allowing yourself to get sun damage when you are 50 years old or older a surprise! Believe me, I do.
To me, this really proves that we can be active in preventing sun damage! Make sure your young athlete is aware of protecting their skin from the sun.
Parents And Awareness
This is when protecting your young athletes’ sun safety will be left to you, the parent. They are exposed for hours every practice or game day. Even though the practice and game times are late afternoons or early mornings, there is still sun exposure. Many hours of exposure.
This accumulation of exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer for your child. Remember, this is the skin your young athlete will use for the rest of their life. You can see a scar on their skin even after healing. This reminds you that your child has had an injury.
Sun damage heals, and in most cases looks like new, and you forget that your child has had a sunburn earlier in the season. The skin looks good as new. Will the risk your child’s face and the risk that their skin will not heal up after the sunburn?
Or will it be their 6th sunburn? We don’t know when the free passes are all used up. Will skin cancer show up when they are 19 years old or when they are 43? We don’t know when the skin cancer will show up. It could even be that your young athlete will never have skin cancer.
At some point in the future, you may have a way to measure the risk for your player, and other family members. Until then we have to rely on what we know now. Check for your sunburn risks.
Every effort should be made to make your youngster’s sun protection an easy fit in the routine of preparation for practice and the normal protective measures for safety when involved in sports.
Just because you don’t see the damage right then, you know that it is there.
Gen Z And Their Parents, Millennials
The American Acadamy Of Dermatologists Association shares the results of their survey.
The survey was a random sampling of 1,000 U.S. adults, with adulthood starting at age 18 and older. I did not find the information on the physical location of this survey. The USA is presumed as the AAD to be a US association. Here are some of the results from the questions:
- Who believes that having a base tan decreases the risk of skin cancer or were unsure? 71% of Gen Z – 58% of Millennials
- What percent are unsure of the protection offered from UV rays when in the shade? 50% of Gen Z – 50% of Millennials.
- How many in the survey think that tanning is safe as long as you don’t sunburn? 49% of Gen Z – 48% of Millennials
- Too many of this group think that tanning is healthy! 46% of Gen Z -49% of Millennials
- As well, 42% of Gen Z – 37% of Millennials say that they did not know that tanning causes skin cancer.
- Out of the 1000 surveyed, when they were asked about recent sunburns 43% of Gen Z – 37% of Millennials said that they had been sunburned in 2020.
You guys are going to have to up your awareness of protecting your young athletes from the sun. Their skin is often still maturing and very sensitive to the sun.
Sun Blocking Clothing For Sun Safety
There are three ways to easily make sure there is less sun damage or heat-related issues when you young athletes are playing or practicing. Too often we overlook the most obvious.
Cover your child’s skin with clothing: A sun blocking hat, lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sunglasses with UV protection. To give better protection clothing with UPF can be worn.
Think about it: Your young athlete has on his uniform and part of the body covered is protected somewhat. The degree of protection depends on the fabric used. Most uniforms are medium-weight fabrics or even heavy. This will help protect your child during the games or practice.
Making sure your youngster is covered during the times of day when they are outside in the sun and not at sports practice or game will help keep them safe from heat-related issues.
Keeping their skin healthy, keeping them able to release sweat, and naturally cooling their body are important to enjoying the game. As well as staying healthy and not so vernable to heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
Summertime is when most sunburn happens, and can affect your young athlete’s ability to stay active. Keep your kids covered with clothing and sunscreen on the parts of their bodies not covered. Heat or Sun exhaustion and sunstroke can follow sunburn.
When your young athlete has sunburn his skin is putting off heat, not helping cool your child’s body.
Keeping those young athletes safe from too much sun is important. Tan lines are not healthy. The lasting damage is occurring when your child tans. We have as a society ignored tans for our kids and allowed more damage to occur every year.
We know better now, and even if your young athlete has darker tones on his/her skin, they will get sun damage. It will take a bit longer with darker skin than for a fair-skinned youngster, but the damage will build up on those darker skin tones as well.
This information is for all kids with all skin tones. Those with lighter skin tones are at greater risk, but all skin will damage by too much sun exposure. The “too much: will happen quicker for the lighter hair and eye color youngsters than for the darker hair and eye color.
Your relationship with sunscreen is important too. Sunblocking clothing works well, but getting your face covered is pretty difficult. A mask does work, but most of us would rather work with sunscreen.
Sunscreen for your face and your family’s faces is the one we should do each time we are exposed. As a grandmother, I have the accumulated damage of too much sun. The ultraviolet rays have caused much more damage than I ever realized they could.
Make sure you are protecting your skin from the sun on a daily basis. Your children should be applying sunscreen after brushing their teeth every morning. Help them to make the habit to protect their skin.
Be Aware Of Shade And Use It
Just like covering your skin when going out into the sun is such a common sense way to protect your skin, shade is overlooked.
Shade is a very important part of your sun defense. Help your young athletes stay out of the sun and take breaks in the shade.
A shade tree is wonderful with room to be underneath and out of the direct sun. It may be a broken shade with sunny spots, but will help your body to recover from being out in the direct heat.
At practice time for young athletes, shade may be hard to find. The shade of a building, especially if you are getting some breeze, a solid fence as well. Help them to understand that sitting still with a damp towel over their head can help their body cool down.
Often the towel over their head is the only shade available. Sitting or laying down will allow their bodies to rest, and their own natural cooling system to work.
In the other times of their days when the young atletes are not playing or practicing they should be super careful of too much sun to their skin. That tan that some of the older guys have can eventually affect their skin. One of the ways they can be affected is for their skin to stop cooling as it should.
Shade and staying hydrated are important to help young athletes to stay safe.
Sami’s Take On Young Athletes Accumulate Too Much Sun Exposure
In trying to help your young athlete stay safe as they enjoy the exerence of being a part of a team effort, and learn to grow their skills remember sun safety.
You will not always be present when there are sun dangers, and especially as they grow up and more independent. It is important to have a sun-safety plan.
Will your young athlete always use the skill? Probably not. However if they become more sun safety aware, that is a great start. Hopefully all the warnings and advice will make your child more alert to staying safe from the sun.
When they see you use your sunscreen, sit under the awning or umbrella they will become more aware.
Wear your sun safe hat, sun blocking shirt. Grab your sunglasses. These are all reminders for your young athletes. As you are the best teacher they have, be a sun safety aware model. Help them to realise that it takes only a moment to be safe.