Rugby mom tackles the dreaded ‘cauliflower ear’

By Lindsay de Freitas
15 April 2017

The ‘cauliflower ear’ has long been the curse of rugby players the world over, but a rugby mom from Northern Ireland is tackling the unsightly sport injury head on.

Brenda Phillips, a dental technician from Lisbun in Northern Ireland, has invented a silicon ear guard to protect the ear’s sensitive cartilage.

"Cauliflower ears aren't nice to look at,” Brenda told the Telegraph.

“But it isn't just about aesthetics, they can be very painful and can cause permanent ear damage."

She came up with the idea four years ago while watching rugby with her son Connor, who plays rugby himself.

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"I was sitting watching TV with Connor. John Afoa (former UK club rugby player) had a piece of cotton wool, or some sort of protection, on his ear. He got tackled and his ear burst open again.”

"I said: 'In this day and age, why have we not got some protection for our ears?' Those horrible cauliflower ears - who wants to have those?”

Brenda, a mother of two, started her own dental laboratory 18 years ago in her living room. Two years ago she bought an old church hall and turned it her family business, Lambeg Dental Laboratory, which she runs with her son, Connor (23), and daughter, Naomi (25).

This is where the Caulear Protection Ear Shields are manufactured.

"It is a clear rubber, it is like a silicon rubber," she told television show, Good Morning Ulster.

"It is lightweight, strong and flexible and is custom made for individual ears,” she says of the shield which is already in use by rugby players, judo professionals and wrestlers.

According to the rugby mom the ear shields, for which a patent is pending, stays put with a medical skin adhesive which is applied to the surface of the ear.

"It's early days but there is a lot of interest. (The shields) are compact. You can hear with them and you have full view with them. I believe this is the way forward for all contact sports."


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