Cowboys Athletic Trainers Help Protect Players from Ravages of Sun
Even though summer is winding down, the sun and southern heat are here to stay a little while longer. With sports and outdoor activities well under way, now’s the time we all need to make sure we’re still taking steps to keep our skin protected from the sun.
The bucket hats that the Cowboys’ players and coaches wear on the practice field are not fashion statements. They are vital protection from the sun. So are the dozens of tubes of sunscreen that the athletic training staff makes available whenever the team is working outdoors.
Whether it’s the sun-drenched practice fields of training camp in California or the heat-soaked practice fields of Frisco, protective clothing/headwear and sunscreen are made available for all Cowboys players and staff.
“Obviously, we have a high concern for keeping the players’ and coaches’ skin protected during practice,” says Jim Maurer, Cowboys head athletic trainer. “The players are very proactive in using sunscreen, so we make sure we have it available for practices as well as game day. We keep it in the locker room. On game days, not only do we have it in the locker room, we also keep it on the sideline in our equipment cases. We use it for away games, of course, but also during home games when our roof is open.
“We have several players that are fair-skinned, so they have more concern than others and it’s really important for them to get the sunscreen on. In reality, though, it’s important for everyone regardless of your skin tone. Yes, there is a benefit to getting sunlight; you get a lot of Vitamin D from it. But protecting skin is really important for all of us, especially when you’re out in the sun as much as we are during workouts and practices and game days.”
The blazing sun takes a toll on skin, whether you’re an NFL receiver, a parent watching a child’s outdoor soccer match or a kid splashing down a slide at a water park. Even the shortest amounts of exposure to the sun add up over time.
The risk of intense or long-term exposure to sunlight is not just a sunburn or wrinkly skin, it’s skin cancer—especially basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. And a history of repeated severe sunburns can cause the deadliest form of skin cancer: melanoma.
In fact, one in three Americans will develop skin cancer.
“Skin cancer has reached epidemic proportions in the Unites States,” notes David F. White, MD, a dermatologist on the Baylor Scott & White Health medical staff. “It’s the most common cancer in the United States.”
There are 900,000 cases of basal cell carcinoma and 200,000 cases of squamous cell carcinoma in our country annually. Each year, 57,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed, resulting in 7,400 deaths.
In addition to modeling after Cowboys players by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen, you can find other ways to protect yourself from the sun here.