Mark of a wrestler: cauliflower ear


by Erich Bogner, Sports Fashion Columnist

Cauliflower ear was considered a symptom of insanity between the 1860s and 1900. While wrestlers may seem crazy for their devotion to the sport, they are not clinically insane.

Cauliflower ear is found most commonly in wrestlers, boxers and other fighters. Football and rugby players can also get it, due to the heavy contact in their sport.

“It’s constantly getting deteriorated from all the headbanging that we do and hitting the mat,” freshman wrestler RJ Brown said. “Then it gets to a point where if you hit it hard enough it’ll actually swell up and bruise.”

Brown said getting cauliflower ear is painful.

Wrestlers have to start wearing head gear more, and Brown said it hurt too much for him to even sleep on that side.

While getting it may be painful, many wrestlers see it as a badge of courage or think it makes them look tough.

“I don’t think it looks cool, but some people do. Some people don’t wear head gear on purpose just so they can get cauliflower ear,” Brown said.

Cauliflower ear is caused when the ear gets hit hard and the cartilage breaks away from the skin or is caused by a collection of clots that stop the flow of nutrients.

This causes the ear to be permanently swollen and deformed. It kind of looks like cauliflower, which is where the name comes from.

Whether women like it is a hit or miss.

When asked if girls liked it, Brown said, “I don’t know, I’m not a girl.”

But, wrestlers with cauliflower ear seem to do okay for themselves, so it is a quality that can be overlooked.

While it may be unsightly to some, cauliflower ear identifies a wrestler as a wrestler.

Later in life it can allow them to have a kind of common ground with someone who would otherwise be a stranger.