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Medical Getting the breath knocked out of you

  1. Sep 20, 2009 #1


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    A few questions about getting the wind knocked out of you.

    How come this happens to kids more than adults? Is it just that kids are so much more active, or is there a physiological reason?

    So I read that it's a temporary paralysis of the diaphragm muscle (wiki). Is this the same as a cramp?

    Can a person die from it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2009 #2


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    The Wiki article on wind knocked out - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_the_wind_knocked_out_of_you

    Cramp - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cramp
    http://www.webmd.com/hw-popup/muscle-cramps [Broken]

    If one is deprived of oxygen for a long enough period, then one would become unconcious, and if long enough perhaps cardiac arrest would occur.

    I've had two events where I was unable to breath for short period, one when I was about 19 and fell out of boxcar and hit the edge of the loading dock with my ribcage (only broke one rib but didn't puncture the chest wall), and the second when I was about 44 or so, and hit the ground sideways after falling out of a tree. Both times it took about a minute of so before I could breath again - and it was light short intakes at first.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Sep 22, 2009 #3


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    Thanks for the links, Astronuc.

    The only time I remember this happening to me, I was in 5th or 6th grade and a classmate hit me in the middle of the abdomen. It's pretty disconcerting not to be able to breath!

    As an adult I haven't encountered people who try to hit me :smile:, so I'd agree that it's the more active nature of kids that makes this more common with them.
  5. Oct 10, 2009 #4
    I think the first time it happens (especially at a younger age) panic results - and makes it worse. Each time it happens afterward, you have experience to draw on for a faster recovery.
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