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Is Cauliflower Ear Dangerous For BJJ Athletes?

Is Cauliflower Ear Dangerous For BJJ Athletes?

Have you ever seen a Black Belt BJJ player with an ear deformity that may seem weird to observe at first? Those who are more interested in MMA must know how experienced grapplers sometimes have twisted ears. If you do not have an idea why their ears feel twisted, unlike normal ear outer structure, keep reading this blog.

We are going to explore cauliflower ears. The physical anomaly in the ear is known as the cauliflower ear. Whether you compete in MMA, BJJ, or wrestling, cauliflower ear is a part of the sport. It is also challenging for the pro players to prevent trauma to the ears in their Jiu Jitsu career.

So, let’s discuss what exactly is cauliflower ear and why some grapplers get it at the early BJJ belt stage. However, some black belt BJJ players do not have cauliflower ears.

 

What Is Cauliflower Ear?

Cauliflower ear is a condition that develops after being physically assaulted in the ear’s exterior regions and structures.

Techniques that frequently result in cauliflower include: 

  • Takedowns that entail utilizing your head’s side as leverage
  • Getting out of headlocks and chokeholds
  • Any BJJ move that makes contact with the ear.

The cartilage and connective tissue layers in your outer ear may separate and fill with blood and other fluid if the damage is severe or persistent. The ear will first be uncomfortable to touch, tender, bloated, reddish purple, and tender to the touch. 

The surrounding cartilage will die if you leave a fresh cauliflower ear on its own for several hours to several days. Following that, calcified fibrous tissue will develop all around the wounded area. 

The calcified tissue results in a rigid mass that usually becomes painless and reverts to its former color in the affected area. It will, however, always hold onto the bulbous mass.

As a result of it, players get the cauliflower ear. The final appearance of your fully hardened cauliflower ear depends on the location and severity of the initial damage.

Is Cauliflower Ear Dangerous For BJJ Athlete?

The cauliflower ear condition can be uncomfortable and unsightly. The best thing is that cauliflower ear poses no risk. Infection is the largest health concern associated with the cauliflower ear.

If you attempt to drain it yourself or have a non-medical expert do it for you, infection is more likely to happen. Infection can be avoided if you practice good cleanliness and give the wound time to heal.

Some grapplers will do everything to avoid cauliflower ear. Others might interpret it as a sign of honor or a demonstration of your commitment to struggling.

In the end, you must determine whether having a cauliflower ear is a significant worry or whether you take pride in it. 

Cauliflower Ear Care

When you touch your ear, you will probably experience pain if you actually have cauliflower ear. You’ll also observe the swollen, puffed-up area. You need to have a cauliflower ear drain as soon as possible to lessen its unpleasant effects. 

Cauliflower Ear Drain Through Syringe

Sometimes, a syringe penetrates the skin and extracts the blood and fluid. Keep in mind you will need to visit an expert doctor to drain cauliflower. Otherwise, the situation can get worse.

After drainage, the area must be compressed to ensure that everything remains connected and that more fluid does not accumulate. In order to keep everything in place for a week or two until healing is finished, a doctor often sutures the ear skin to the cartilage or inserts a compression clip.

If you don’t want the ear to re-fill with blood, you must stop additional injury and disruption to the area throughout the post-drainage healing process. You need to remove the fluid before the tissue dies and starts to stiffen. Your ear will harden in a number of days to weeks once the hardening process starts a few hours after the initial damage. 

Surgery For Regaining Aesthetics 

Surgery is the sole option for therapy once the cauliflower ear has fully hardened if you want your ear to look somewhat normal. Following treatment for cauliflower ears, you will be encouraged to take a short break from exercise. If you decide to return to the mats, you should at least protect your head with head gears until your ear is healed.

To prevent infection, make sure to keep it clean. The best way to prevent major deformities and avoid infection is to have competent medical specialists drain your ear.

Many athletes will ask a teammate to drain their ears, increasing the chance of developing recurrent cauliflower ears. It also increases the danger of infection.

Avoid Cauliflower Ear To Maximum Extent

Wearing a helmet when you roll (or avoid getting smashed) is the only way to ensure you won’t develop a cauliflower ear. Using headgear during rigorous training can reduce the possibility of developing cauliflower ears in many cases. 

Theoretically, in order to effectively eliminate the possibility of ear contact, you would need to wear it at all times. Of course, the best approach to completely avoid cauliflower ear is to avoid BJJ and other martial arts. Otherwise, you may become prone to cauliflower if you show very little carelessness.

Why Don’t All BJJ Participants Have Cauliflower Ears?

When two black belts are placed side by side, there is a probability that one of them will have severe cauliflower ears while the other’s ears may be perfect. Your ears’ natural softness and physical makeup typically determine how vulnerable they are to the initial trauma that causes cauliflower ear.

Your ears are more likely to sustain a cauliflower ear injury if they are naturally more protruding and solid. The BJJ techniques you like and how frequently you train also affect your risk of developing cauliflower ear.

Theoretically, if you prefer techniques that don’t make as much contact with your ears, you should be less prone to cauliflower ear. However, this is not a smart strategy for avoiding the cauliflower ear, given BJJ’s chaotic and haphazard nature.

We do not advise altering your strategy in order to avoid cauliflower ear. However, if you tend to pull guard and sweep more often, you can have a cauliflower ear than someone who prefers to go for double leg takedowns.

Moreover, grapplers who experience a cauliflower ear bout and have it promptly stitched, drained, and adequately healed appear less likely to experience another in competition. However, this is not true for all players.

Final Words For Cauliflower Ear 

Cauliflower ear results due to heavy punching or blunt force trauma. Even though the illness is typically not harmful, it can be rather irritating when it happens. You may not like the visual appearance of the outer ear as it shows deformity. However, the good news is that headgear can help prevent cauliflower ear.

If you end up acquiring it, you can always have it treated if the discomfort and appearance annoy you. Whatever the case, some cauliflower ear is unavoidable in grappling, so if you intend to be a serious competitor, it probably won’t be your significant issue. You can treat it at its early stage or focus on the BJJ career rather than the appearance of the ear.

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