A lot of people think that having a cauliflower ear to be an awesome badge of honor. Whereas, showing off a pretty busted up ear deformed because of years of grappling can be macho, or attractive, and some do not. Whilst others seem to be impervious to this condition.
Classified as Hematoma, or internal bleeding, cauliflower ears is caused by blunt trauma. When the ear is struck with force, or in the case of Jiu-jitsu artists, squeezed tightly, blood clots are formed under the skin. when the blood clots, the ear expands with liquid which causes the cartilage and the skin to separate. Upon healing, the cartilage collapses. This will give you the Randy-Coutoure look. Well, it’s all fine and dandy, but remember, we live in a world where aesthetics is everything (how shallow is that?!).
Kidding aside, a good ear is a functioning ear.
I got my first symptom of the cauliflower ear around 4 years ago. I was trying to squeeze my head off a tight guillotine. I was successful (Yay!). But as soon as I got home, I felt my ears to feeling a bit funny; they felt warm. The next day, I noticed that it seems to be full of liquid. My gym mates told me, “man, that’s dope! you got the ‘ear'”. I wasn’t psyched. I love my ears. But, I was panicking.
Some of my team mates told me to just drain it myself using a hypodermic needle. Not a good idea. It only did so much. If not treated, the symptom comes back.
So what I figured I should go to the doctor. What the doctors did was drain the liquid and sew in stitches and sandwiching both sides of ear with high-grade compact gauze. I couldn’t train for the next four days.Eventually, that minor surgery prevented liquid from forming again, reinforcing the skin back to the cartilage. It was an experience.
After which, I began researching about it. Exercise by gently pulling your earlobes before a training session. This will make the skin flexible and the cartilage able to withstand pressure.
I also invested in ear guards. Yes. The ones wrestlers use. When engaged in heavy, hardcore training, I make sure that I wear those. Having a purple or a black belt squeezing and pressuring your ear is not nice. Although the experience is fun.
Once you see the symptoms of the cauliflower ear, go see an Ear Nose, Throat doctor (ENT).
Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone!