New NJSIAA Partnership Focuses On Skin Cancer Prevention

ROBBINSVILLE – To help prevent skin cancer in teens, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) is partnering with the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation (RFMF) on the establishment the Team SunSmart educational program.

Skin cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting young adults (ages 15 to 29), according to the American Cancer Society, and just two severe sunburns during childhood doubles the risk of developing melanoma later in life. This being the case, youngsters who wear sunscreen daily trim their risk of developing skin cancer by as much as 70 percent.

Athletes who practice and compete outside often are exposed to the sun for extended periods of time, thus increasing their potential risk of skin cancer. For this reason, Team SunSmart will provide information about skin cancer, UV exposure, and the positive impact of sunscreen protection to high school teams throughout New Jersey. In addition, the RFMF will provide sun screen to 86,000 athletes around the state, in the hope that these athletes will take the necessary steps to protect their skin.

“The goal of the Team SunSmart initiative is educating student athletes about the risks of overexposure to the sun, and also to have the message spread to the entire student body,” says Steve Timko, NJSIAA executive director. “We hope to accomplish this through the influence of our athletes, as well as through informational posters placed throughout schools.”

The RFMF has also created a related Facebook fan page as well as a Team SunSmart video contest to help spread the word about skin cancer among teens.

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