We’ve all been asked by our non-rugby watching/playing friends as to
what exactly a cauliflower ear is, and how do you get one. We never
knew the actual answer so decided to dive deeper into this issue.
What is that thing!?
So a cauliflower ear is an irreversible condition that develops when
the external part of the ear is hit again and again. This ongoing
impact then turns into a blood clot or a collection of other fluid.
This then separates the cartilage in the affected area away from the
part of the ear (perichondrium – for the scientists among us) that
supplies it with nutrients. Eventually, this part of the ear dies and
leaves the permanent swelling or deformity we all know as the
If a blood clot is starting to form, players are recommended to get
this drained before a full cauliflower ear is developed. Once
developed through the outer ear is prone to infections – where
antibiotics may be given to clear outbreaks. Pressure can be applied
to trouble areas with the aim of reconnecting the skin and the
cartilage. If left untreated though serious damage can be caused – in
a worst case scenario the ear canal can be disrupted.
In rugby, the poor old forwards are the main sufferers of cauliflower
ears and the front row. This is due to constant impact during scrums.
Touch, pause, cauliflower ear. Some players try to mitigate and lessen
the impact by wearing a scrum cap, or tape. However, not all players
feel comfortable wearing scrum caps as it restricts peripheral vision.
Tape, on the other hand, is just pretty uncomfortable.
Brenda Phillips a rugby mum may have come to our rescue. Cue the
Superman theme tune. She’s invented a silicon ear guard to protect the
cartilage and reduce continuous impact. She’s aiming big, hoping the
guard can help players in all relevant contact sports, such as
wrestling. Brenda launched her Caulier Shields via her website caulearprotection. They’re not cheap, retailing at £80,
however, if they do prevent the dreaded cauliflower ear – it’s money
well spent. Can you really put a price on beauty?!
Although a scrum cap can be used to prevent a cauliflower ear
developing we’re sure these will be part of the game from now until
the end of time. Let us know if you have any innovative ways of
preventing impact to your ears whilst playing.
P.S Check out rugby clothing range here.