Many popular sports such as cricket, tennis, golf, lawn bowls, athletics, surfing and triathlon experience their highest participation between September and April when ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels reach high to extreme levels in Victoria.
Whether participating in sport or just watching a game, especially when you are spending hours outside in the sun, protecting yourself using the five sun protection steps is particularly important.
In Victoria from May to August, when UV is below 3, sun protection generally isn't required when exercising or playing sport. In fact it is a good time to go without sun protection to get a safe level of UV exposure to help with vitamin D levels. The exception is if you are near highly reflective surfaces like snow, spending extended periods outdoors (e.g. training for or competing in endurance events) or the UV reaches 3 and above.
Tips for clubs
We recommend clubs develop and promote a sun protection policy that includes:
- educating club members and coaches about skin cancer and sun protection; put articles in your newsletter, display a poster and use a blackboard to display the UV Alert for the day; you may even consider running an information session.
- providing or encouraging participants and officials to wear sun protective clothing as part of the team uniform and during training sessions
- promoting the use of SPF 30+ broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen. Your club may even consider having a supply on site
- promoting and using the SunSmart UV Alert by adding the widget onto the club's website
- scheduling training times, competitions and outdoor events outside the UV Alert times when possible – especially those scheduled for the middle of the day
- planning and providing shade; encourage players and spectators to take advantage of natural shade from buildings and trees. Add portable shading or consider building permanent shade in popular outdoor spots
- encouraging people to bring their own portable shade to club events
- encouraging spectators to come to events with sunscreen, clothing, shade, hats and sunglasses. Promote sun protection during the day with signage, announcements and provide sunscreen for unprepared spectators
- encouraging club ‘sports stars', coaches and club officials to be sun protection role models
To create your own UV protection policy, download the sample SunSmart Sports Policy.
For more information download the UV exposure and heat illness guide [pdf 1.46MB] and a modifiable Word document to develop your own UV and heat illness guidelines.