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Ear’s Some News for You

I know I’m a pretty lucky girl when it comes to injuries in my grappling and stuff. I’ve been wrestling 6 years and I’ve only had a handful of injuries and none of them have been really serious. I’ve broken fingers, toes and feet, sprained wrists and ankles, over extended joints till the cows came home, gotten concussed and now I’ve had my ear half way ripped off. Where do I start?  I’ll start with Cauliflower ear. I’m not pretending to be super smart, I’m not a doctor. I have had my fair share of run ins with cauliflower ear enough to know a little about it. I’ll try to explain it to the best of my ability and it will be pretty cave man sounding since I myself am a simpleton.  Cauliflower ear is a common condition in contact sports, especially in wrestling where one rubs ones ears frequently against abrasive objects. Ears get folded funny or squished funny when a wrestler is trying to do an escape or sweep or any kind of transition. There can be accidental elbowing or chins hitting the ear which can hit hard enough to bust the cartilage and cause swelling. There are many ways to cause the trauma, it’s not limited to wrestling alone but no matter the cause the results can be unsightly.  When there’s trauma on the ear, fluid will build up under the perichondrium. The perichondrium is a dense irregular connective tissue that  supplies nutrients to the cartilage. This fluid that builds up then separates the cartilage from said perichondrium. The cartilage then dies and hardens in an irregular shape. The skin over the ear will accommodate the new weird shape…this is how you get the beautiful looking ears you see on many fighters and wrestlers.

One way of preventing the deformed ear look, its to drain and splint the ear before the fluids harden. I’ve had to stick many needles in my ear and drain some nasty looking things out of my head a few times. I prefer to use a 24g needle. I want something that is thick enough to let the fluid drain out fast or at a reasonable rate.  Insulin needles are small and thin which are pretty much painless but they are so thin that often times the thick fluid can not drain down the short needle. So I tough it out and get the thicker 24g needles. The puncturing part is extremely painful. The punction needs to be deep enough to break through the skin and enter in the the soft fluid area with out punching through to the other side of the ear. I suggest going in at a 45 degree angle. Once you have the fluid drained out, it’s important to splint the ear so that more fluid doesn’t fill in and also to keep the shape normal-ish. One should keep the ear splinted for about 2 weeks. I used a nipple clamp to splint mine. The nipple clamp was like a tiny “C” clamp you can purchase at any hardware store. Get one that is small enough to fit on your tiny ear.

After having gone through the draining and splinting many a times in the past, I thought I might try wearing head gear to keep the tenderness of my ears down. A lot of people wear head gear because they can’t handle the awesomeness of how the cauliflower ear actually looks onces it’s hardened. It’s cool..not everyone can be rad. I’ve decided I will never wear head gear again. I had a freak accident today. I had my head gear on…everything was going great. A Girl caught me in a north south choke and as I was pulling my head out from it, my head gear started slipping up. The chin strap started choking the shit out of me and to top it off the ear part caught on to my ear and and the head gear shiftes up, it took my ear with it and damn near ripped my ear off. I have about a 3 inch gash on the back of my ear and the worst part was…I tapped out because I was chocking myself with the damn head gear. UGH..

The ear getting ripped did not hurt me what so ever. I actually didn’t notice it until my next match when I took my head gear off and got my opponent into a triangle choke and after she tapped, I saw blood all over here where my ear had been. The producer took a look at my ear and was like ” you need to go to the doctor” She almost threw up. I guess it looked pretty bad at first. I couldn’t see it though. I cleaned it up and asked someone to take a picture.   So here I am..waiting to get onto a flight home so I can hit up the urgent care that my insurance goes through. I could have found a place in San Jose but to be honest, I just want to go to my doctor in my town so if anything goes wrong I can hunt who’s at fault down and ruin their life :). I am sad because I have huge tournaments coming up and I am barely going to be healed in time for them. I will not be able to train hard for the week before these tournaments and I feel like I will be at a disadvantage. I will do well though. My ear is fine. every thing is fine. Had the producer not said something about needing to go to the doctor, I probablywouldn’t have gone because I can’t feel the thing nor can I see how bad it really is except for this little picture. Having a high pain tolerance can be a little scary. It makes me wonder what else has gotten messed up without my knowing it. Guess there’s no point fretting over the things I dont know about.

Here’s an update. I just got back from the Dr. He glued my ear back on. No stitches. I am not allowed to get my ear wet or grapple for 2 weeks. 🙁



3 Responses

  1. Fred J

    You're a hard hard woman Ariel 😉 Digging around in your own ear with a thick needle is for sure more than I'd be willing to do, and I'm a 6'4" guy who considers myself to be tougher than the average man. Kudos to you for sure.

  2. gary

    i see you wrestled mistress kara.just watched her match with isamar at academy.i was shocked at how easily she beat isamar.did you beat her and what was the score

  3. Joel

    I had a student who's ear looked like that after an fight….he got it caught on the cage. He finished it in that round or they may have no let the fight continue

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