Save the Ball


pages 6 – 7 – 2 of 2 options – nadine maccauley informal-min

Testicular torsion is a painful condition where the testicle twists on its cord and cuts off the blood supply. It affects about 1 in 4000 males under the age of 25 each year, most commonly during puberty. Although testicular torsion is uncommon, it needs to be treated quickly when it happens.

“They have about six hours from the onset of pain to save the testicle. Once you get to 24 hours, it’s pretty much 0% chance of saving it,” says Nadine McCauley, a urology registrar at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

After doing an audit to see how long it took boys to present in A&E with torsion, Nadine found that there was often a significant delay.

“We were quite surprised because the average was about two days,” she says.

“We realised the problem was getting them to tell somebody that they had pain in the testicles, which is obviously embarrassing for young men.”

To help tackle this problem, Nadine along with her colleagues started the Save the Ball campaign. They are aiming to reach boys aged 11-14 to explain what to look for and the importance of being checked quickly.

The campaign is developing lesson materials so that the topic can be easily taught in schools. Central to this plan is co-design, where children are involved throughout the process and provide ideas for the approach.

“In 2019, the government introduced compulsory PSHE lessons (Personal, Social, Health, Economic) in England, and I think it will be the same in Wales and the other nations eventually,” says Nadine.

“We worked with a school in South East London and they designed the basic layout of the PSHE lesson. That’s going for accreditation so it can be used throughout England.”

The project team is developing resources for the lesson, including a video, which the children suggested would help make the lesson more accessible. Nadine is doing a Masters in research looking at how to make the video design evidence-based.

“It’s not something that I normally would have expected as part of my medical career, but it’s been interesting. I’ve learned a lot along the way,” she says.

TUF is providing funding to support the project, including the production of the video and the co-design work.

“The final product will be assessed with focus groups again, and because it is a difficult-to-reach population, TUF funding is going to really help us to encourage young teenagers,” says Nadine.

“So part of the funding is going to help as a motivation for the kids to participate in something that they wouldn’t normally feel very comfortable talking about, for obvious reasons.”