AFL Hawthorn Hawks player Jarryd Roughead has been sidelined indefinitely after he told teammates yesterday that his melanoma is back. The 29-year-old first faced melanoma in mid July last year.

Teammate Jordan Lewis said the situation was “extremely serious” and that Roughead was only weeks away from re-joining the season after a knee reconstruction.

Hawks General Manager Operations Chris Fagan said it was an emotional time for players.

“He [Roughead] was determined to let them know and to also let them know he was going to be okay,” Fagan said.

Wollongong Bulldogs coach and president Lee Murray said he took the dangers of skin cancer seriouslt, despite the often lax, individual-focussed view of sun safety in sport.

“I take a proactive and strong stance to protection,” he said.

“I always provide sun cream and zinc for players and officials, and always carry hats and long sleeve shirts in the kit bag.”

Wollongong Saints coach David Kennedy said skin care is something people need to be aware of on game day and during training.

“We always make sure the girls have sun cream before the games,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said he was unaware of a specific policy for sun safety, and said it was difficult to implement other forms of sun protection— like hats and sunglasses— due to them making it difficult to play. He said that while wearing long-sleeve shirts used to be popular in the game, popularity has dropped, particularly due to the warmer autumn months for this AFL season.

“You’d get really hot playing in long sleeves,” he said.

Illawarra Cancer Council community programs coordinator Emma Swords said it was important to remember a range of sun protection methods are required to prevent skin cancer. She said while 21 per cent of skin cancer resulted from sport, half the cases of cancer and sunburn occur as a result of everyday activities. Ms Swords said the key to prevention is to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.

“A small effort can benefit you in the long term,” she said.

“A lot of the time the damage done at a younger age doesn’t present itself until you’re older.”

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world— two in three Australians will be diagnosed by the age of 70, and over 2000 will die each year from skin cancer alone.

“The good news about skin cancer is that it can be detected and prevented early, and if it’s detected early, it can be treated,” Ms Swords said.

“We need to make sure that you know your own skin and what’s normal for you and note any changes.”

Jarryd Roughead supporters have taken to Twitter to show their support during this difficult time:


You can download the Cancer Council’s Sun Smart safety app here.