Cauliflower Ear – Myths and True Prevention – What Every Grappler Should Know

Cauliflower Ear – Myths and True Prevention – What Every Grappler Should Know

Photo of BJJEE.com editor Gile Huni at Kimura BJJ Serbia. Photo by Zoran Milich Photography

Cauliflower Ear often seems like some mythical force when a white belt first falls in love with Jiu Jitsu. It’s a big problem, but it’s never really discussed in depth by professors and only really seems to be mentioned in strategy planning for competition. “If your takedowns aren’t so good and your opponent has really bad cauliflower ear, then you might want to pull guard since they probably used to wrestle.” How someone gets cauliflower ear and how to treat it were never discussed before I had to deal with it personally and God do I wish I had known more of the facts before then.

First off what is Cauliflower Ear and why is it such a big deal?

As taken from The Journal for Athletic Training, “Wrestler’s ear, an acute hematoma of the external ear, is commonly associated with wrestlers and other athletes who engage in contact sports. It may occur even when protective ear guards are being used. The syndrome is frequently difficult to treat adequately because of patient noncompliance. The necessary post aspiration compression dressing is time-consuming to apply, often impossible to replace accurately, and frequently is an embarrassment to the patient. Commonly, its use is discontinued early; therefore, recurrence of the hematoma results.”

This is one of the biggest problems when it comes to Bjj knowledge of cauliflower ear, all of this medical jargon! In this quote is a lot of good information though if broken down.

How cauliflower ear strikes – Rough contact with the Ear
What happens – The front and back cartilage separate and fill with blood before hardening.
Why is this important? – Unlike a normal bruise where the clotted blood has somewhere to go, the blood in the ear has no escape, so it hardens exactly where it is and then becomes a permanent deformity.
Long term consequences – The consequences of fully formed cauliflower ear range from simply having deformed ears (considered cool by some, but those working in a professional setting see it as too ugly/distracting for clients to see.) They cause trouble using headphones, loss of hearing, and the outer edge of the ear can even fold over and die! The one common consequence for all who experience cauliflower ear is pain. Pain when you roll, pain when you don’t, pain that can keep you awake all night!

Even with these basic facts that many in the BJJ community know, there are still two huge myths

Cauliflower ear happens over time

If you drain it, everything is fine

You’ll notice that the authors of the article we pulled from don’t say “associated with wrestlers training for 5 or more years” or anything denoting time in the sport. More importantly, they also put emphasis on the fact that if the proper steps aren’t taken, recurrence is nearly guaranteed.

For instance, here’s what happened to me. I was a bright eyed ignorant white belt just over 6 months into my BJJ career (Purple belt now). I was preparing for my first foray into competition and was put through “the gauntlet” at the gym. People competing soon stayed on the mat as fresh bodies kept rotating in to wear us out and give us more experience. During one of these mini matches, a teammate threw on a tight guillotine and I stupidly tried to pull my head out. I can’t remember if I got my head out or had to tap, but what I do remember was that my ears hurt like hell the rest of the night before bed.

The next morning, I woke up with the inside of my ear full of liquid and continued pain. Googling led me to the answer that I had somehow gotten cauliflower despite only training for 6 months and the entirety of the problem started off from one damn choke hold. No it does not take a lifetime to get it!

Google quelled my fears with the promise of a simple solution, Drain them. I ran to my local CVS and bought my needles (hoping they didn’t assume I was a junkie). I called up mom and she came to the rescue to get that stuff out of there and boom it was gone! Happy solution, right?

That next morning, I woke up and the fluid buildup was twice as big. It filled the whole inside of my ear and I could barely hear. Not only did it not work, but I learned that each time you stick that needle in your ear it creates scar tissue. Making it more likely that you’ll have reoccurrences later and have a harder time healing. After more draining and filling, I learned the next piece of the puzzle, Compression.

Compression is paramount to keep the ear cartilage closed so that there’s no space for liquid to get in, and so they the ear can heal back together. I tried everything I could find.

Clamps and magnets were excruciatingly painful and simply don’t form to the ear well enough to stop it from filling. After two weeks and DRAINING 15 TIMES, I finally found the solution talked about in the Journal of Athletic Training.

Custom Molded Ear Splints

“The molded impression can be easily removed…and readily and accurately reapplied by the patient, resulting in a high degree of compliance with the treatment program. In many cases, with care, the splint has been used safely by athletes who return to athletics within a few days.

Simply put, these products allow you to make a mold of your ear before you get cauliflower ear or right after draining. You now have a perfect mold of your desired ears! So if your ears hurt after training or if you did have to drain, you can wear them to perfectly contour compression for you ear. Since its molded to your ear it delivers light even pressure so that there is no pain and you don’t end up with any weird looking ears.

So why isn’t this easy and pain free solution widely know even though the medical community has known about this for decades? They only offer it as a solution when you go to a doctor to spend hundreds of dollars for them to drain your Ear!

This was until the company EarSplintz started. They took the same materials and process the doctors use and made the available for the public. You can now, by yourself, make a mold of your ear in under 5 minutes that you can use as often as you need to ensure you never develop cauliflower ear.

They have helped thousands of individuals over the past few years and never had a single return!

If you don’t want cauliflower ear, this is the only way to ensure you can keep your ears the way they are at the time of molding!

To find out more, Check out www.Earsplintz.com and use promo code “FREESHIP” for $10 off of your purchase!

Follow us on Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/earsplintz/

and  Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/earsplintz/