Let’s hear it for scrum caps lads

CAULIFLOWER ears are the bane of rugby players.

Years of rigorous crunching contact in the scrum leaves many with a lifelong legacy of Podge and Rodge-like ears.

Some players forsake protective headgear or bandaging, fearing they might miss line out and other calls during a game.

However, a study carried out at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick disproves that theory.

For the study, which involved eight players with no history of ear surgery, a soundproof room was used, with each player undergoing three hearing tests.

In one case they were tested wearing scrum caps, in the second they had their ears taped, and in the third they had no ear covering.

Dr Stephen Keiran, one of the medical experts involved in the study, said it proved there was no hearing loss associated with ear taping or the wearing of a scrum cap.

Dr Keiran decided to carry out the study after attending an international at Lansdowne Road some years ago.

“I was standing on the south terrace and heard a player call for the ball from one side and he threw it to the other side. He was wearing a scrum cap and I thought he couldn’t hear properly,” he said.

Match settings with crowd noise, he said, may affect the quality of hearing on the field of play among players. But the wearing of scrum caps and taping make no difference.

And they prevent the development of cauliflower ears.

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