Our Athletes

Doctor's Discovery Helped Athlete Avoid Ear Damage


An athlete from Special Olympics Belgium avoided potential catastrophic damage to his hearing thanks to the Healthy Athletes screening programme.

The importance of the programme was showcased recently when an athlete’s method of relieving an itchy ear revealed a serious issue. Dr. Rupal Mehta, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist, was volunteering for Healthy Athletes at the Special Olympics Belgium National Games in May.

During a routine examination of an athlete, Dr. Rupal was shocked to discover three pencil points in the athlete’s ear canal. The athlete, it emerged, had regularly used pencils to relieve an itch inside his ear not realizing the potential harm. The pencil points were removed.

Melina Willems, Global Clinical Advisor for Healthy Athletes, said: “The athlete was lucky as the ear could have reacted to these strange objects much more immensely. It could have caused a serious infection with pain and hearing loss as consequences. There was even a risk of permanently damaging to the eardrum which also can cause hearing loss.”