Although in male humans the passage between the abdominal cavity and the scrotal cavity is supposed to close off, so that the testes can't be drawn all the way up, there is one group of athletes in which it's deliberately kept open: Sumo wrestlers.

I don't know if you have ever seen one these guys, but they're pretty impressive. The average Sumo wrestler goes something like 350-400 pounds, on the hoof, and while they have a generous proportion of body fat, a lot of it is muscle. At the time they begin their rigorous training, in their pre-puberty period, they perform deliberate contractions of the cremaster muscle, so as to maintain patency of the inguinal canal. By the time they're ready for the ring, they're able deliberately to draw the testes up behind their pubic bones.

This is simply a matter of self-protection. Sumo wrestlers fight by throwing each other around and jumping on each other, and all they wear in the ring is a sort of elaborate diaper. Pulling the testes up behind the pubis gives them some measure of protection against the crashing blows of a 400-pound opponent. The thought of what would happen otherwise is almost too painful to contemplate.

And yes, Sumo World is a real magazine. Sumo is an ancient sport, with roots deep in Japanese history and culture. It has tens of millions of fans world-wide, in the USA as well as in the Orient. As hard as it is for Westerners to imagine, steeped as we are in the believe that "thin is in," Sumo wrestlers are regarded in Japan much as rock music stars are in the USA. They acquire a following of fans, many of them women who can only be describes as "Sumo groupies," with all that the term implies. A catastrophic accident would seriously impact on their—ahem—personal and social lives.

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