MLB to promote sun safety through Play Sun Smart initiative

USA baseball also will spread message of sun protection through new education course

Major League Baseball, all 30 MLB Clubs, and players will once again promote sun safety and raise awareness of skin cancer this spring and summer through the 2016 Play Sun Smart initiative, which has officially launched throughout the league. Play Sun Smart is a joint effort by Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to raise awareness of skin cancer and offer prevention and detection tips to the baseball community.

USA Baseball, the National Governing Body for the sport of baseball in the United States, created an educational course about skin cancer awareness and sun safety in support of Play Sun Smart. The course is hosted by Darrell S. Rigel, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and consultant for the New York Yankees. This free course is available to coaches, players, parents, and fans nationwide through USABaseball.Education. Additionally, USA Baseball will work in partnership with its national member organizations to provide promotional information throughout the amateur baseball community. USA Baseball joined the Play Sun Smart initiative in 2015.

Clubs will activate the program in a variety of ways, including first pitches and on-field ceremonies for special guests affected by skin cancer, young fans delivering sunscreen to dugouts, an animated scoreboard race that was introduced in 2013 to educate fans about playing safe in the sun, and more. Additionally, MLB players, coaches and staff from all 30 Clubs and the Commissioner's Office will serve as role models for fans by participating in skin cancer screenings and practicing sun-safe behaviors throughout the year.

Since 1999, AAD dermatologists have conducted nearly 39,000 skin cancer screenings through the Play Sun Smart program. More than 1,300 suspicious lesions, including 168 suspected melanomas, have been detected through the Play Sun Smart Club and Commissioner's Office screenings. Just like players and Club employees, fans are asked to practice safe sun behaviors and to find a free skin cancer screening in their area by visiting PlaySunSmart.org.

Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early, so fans are encouraged to regularly look over their entire body, including hard-to-see areas, for suspicious spots. If you notice any irregular spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

The Play Sun Smart program is one of several cancer-related initiatives supported by Major League Baseball and the Players. Other initiatives include Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), whose mission is to support groundbreaking scientific research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients quickly; the Mother's Day Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative, which is a program to help increase awareness of breast cancer and raise money towards the search for a cure; the Prostate Cancer Foundation's Home Run Challenge, which helps increase awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for the search for a cure as part of the MLB Father's Day celebration; Strike Out Cancer, an initiative created by Colorado Rockies pitcher, Jason Motte, and supported by players on all 30 teams; as well as several additional players, including Nolan Arenado, Craig Breslow, Andrew Cashner, Ike Davis, Freddie Freeman, Yovani Gallardo, Derek Holland, Craig Kimbrel, John Lester, Andrew McCutchen, Logan Morrison, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Seager and Jerome Williams, to name a few, who have foundations or support organizations dedicated to cancer-related causes. To learn more about sun safety and the Play Sun Smart program, please visit MLBCommunity.org.