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Parents of youth wrestlers: this is your new favorite page. It’s the one about how to avoid letting your child’s ears turn into cauliflower. Wait, can that actually happen?
We know there are probably many new wrestling parents out there who have seen older wrestlers, coaches, MMA fighters, and others with some really gnarly looking ears and thought “Man, I really want my kid to wrestle, but I don’t want their ears to look like that!” Neither do we. So, if this is you, we have good news: not all wrestlers get cauliflower ear. It’s not a disease, contagious infection, or a birth defect. Cauliflower ear is something that can happen when wrestlers choose not to wear their headgear, and it’s entirely preventable. Phew! Essentially, cauliflower ear starts out as a contusion on the ear, similar to a bump on your head, as a result of some kind of impact or trauma. Ears, unfortunately, have pretty bad outward blood circulation so when they fill up, the blood has nowhere to go. As a result, the bubble hardens and turns into cartilage. When it is fresh, it can be drained, and the ear will go back to normal. However, it’s best to avoid this inconvenience altogether.
This is where headgear comes in. You’ve probably seen wrestlers wearing headgear and thought “wow, that looks pretty silly.” And you would be correct. Headgear is not necessarily the most flattering part of a wrestler’s uniform, but it is extremely important. So, what does it actually do? Wrestling headgear, or more accurately known as ear guards, is made to protect the ears from trauma and contusions that are likely to happen without it. Think about it – wrestlers are constantly putting each other in headlocks, bumping heads, rolling around on the mat, and getting themselves into all sorts of funky positions. And their ears are just hanging out there waiting to get hit, crunched, folded, etc. Headgear is basically a set of hard shells covered in padding that goes over the ears to protect them from all this nonsense. Of course, they are only effective when properly secured with the straps that hold them together. This may require some time and patience to get the right fit, but it will be well worth it.
Here are some important tips to finding the right headgear and using it properly:
1. Sizing. You’ll want to make sure that you get the right size headgear. If it’s too big, you won’t be able to adjust the straps tight enough to have a secure fit, and it will end up sliding around as soon as they start wrestling. If it’s too small, well, it just won’t work and will be very uncomfortable. Most headgear comes in “youth” and “adult” sizes, but there is still significant variation in the strap length and shell size between different models. The way an ear guard fits will be highly dependent on the size and shape of your wrestler’s head. Keep in mind, that some “youth” age children may actually fit better in adult size headgear.
2. Comfort. Each headgear has a different fit and feel to it, and everyone has different preferences. Certain headgears may be perfect for some but really bother others for one reason or another. Try experimenting with a few different models to see what works best.
3. Adjustment. All headgear is fully adjustable with either vinyl or Velcro straps. There are straps on the top of the head, the back of the head, and under the chin. You’ll want to make sure each is adjusted appropriately to the shape of the head so there is no discomfort or awkward pulling in one direction or another. Pro tip: start with all the straps as loose as possible and place the ear cups directly over the ears where it feels most natural. Then slowly adjust each strap, rotating between each one as to not make one too tight, so you end up with a snug fit. When fully tightened, the ear cups should still sit centered over the ears.
4. Style. If you look good, you wrestle good. Make sure you get something that your little scrapper is going to like wearing (at least a little) and feel confident in.
If you have any questions regarding youth wrestling headgear, please give us a call at 888-887-8893 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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