Community Journal Entry: His ear resembles a vegetable now

ENTRY #20 — Caroline Romero, Canada
February 10, 2020

The bronze statue ‘Boxer at Rest’ is a classical sculpture from the Hellenistic period excavated in Rome in 1885. The most iconic ancient bronze statue in the world, it was designed wearing athletic suspenders and leather hand wraps.

The statue, among other battle scars, sports cauliflower ear. The art piece serves as an example that in the world of boxing and combat sports, cauliflower ear is predominant, and a symbol of battle.

Cauliflower ear, also known as perichondral hematoma or wrestler’s ear, is a deformity of the ear caused by trauma. When the swelling from the injury isn’t treated immediately the cartilage becomes thickened and scarred. It begins to eventually resemble the cauliflower vegetable.

I remember the development of my oldest son’s cauliflower ear. He is a professional MMA fighter and experienced the injury a few years ago. I was horrified. I carried my baby for nine months and remember his father and I counting all his fingers and toes when he was born. He was perfect; a beautiful baby boy.

As a teenager, he came home from MMA practice one day with obvious injuries to his ear. He seemed to be quite proud of it however. As a fighter, he was finally earning his cauliflower ear; a status symbol to many in combat sports. After a few days though, it became not so charming. His ear seemed to be bursting at the seams!

The first thing we did was take him to the doctor. The injury was not very common where we live. At the time, Ontario, Canada was not exactly a hotbed for combat sports. Ice was recommended, but not much else was really suggested. A Google search recommended extracting the blood in the ear before it became thick and hardened. Off to the local pharmacy, we went to buy needles. As worried parents, we tried explaining to the pharmacist what our son was dealing with and asked for needles to drain the blood.

The pharmacist looked down from his counter at us like we were middle-aged drug addicts. Luckily, he allowed us to buy the needles after a lot of explaining and our adventure with cauliflower ear began.

That ear needed to be drained constantly and of course our son didn’t want to miss his training. It kept filling up with blood and was impossible to remedy. After many attempts to repair the damage, his ear finally hardened. He will never be able to use in-ear headphones again, but he is quite proud of his ear. The other ear now has signs of wear and tear and will most likely experience the same fate as the first.

In the end though, he sports his ear as a badge of courage and dedication towards his beloved sport of MMA.

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