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Seizure After Getting The Wind Knocked Out?

My 6yr old son was playing soccer the other day with his aunt who accidently kicked the ball into the RUQ of his abdomen. I know that because of the mark that it left there right after it happened. Of course right away we all could see that he had gotten the wind knocked out of him. He was hunched over trying to catch his breath. His father and I then laid him down supine as much to our surprise he didn't appear to be breathing yet (we waited the usual time that you would expect someone to start breathing again). He then was very pale( it was starting to get dark outside, so it would be safe to say that if he was breathing it was not effective). His eyes then started to roll into the back of his head and he extended his legs while his upper body rocked from side to side. It felt like forever, but I'm sure this whole incident took place over just a minute. At the end of the jerking with his eyes in the back of his head he appeared lifeless extremeley pale (hard to say if he was cyanotic given the dim lighting), and I was getting ready to give rescue breaths when he started to breath again. His color was back to ruddy right away, and he responded to the question "...say something if you can hear me!" with "forget". Weird.
What I would love to know is why would this happen. His doc is sure that he had a seizure and that it was a fluke incident. I asked if this would happen every time he gets the wind knocked out of him or any othe traumatic event. He didn't think so. My son did play a game that night and the doc did wonder if he was perhaps slightly dehydrated. Could've been. He had 2 bottles of water during his game, but it was 88 outside too. Should I have anything else checked out. Dont have to worry about brain cancer or anything?
Thanks So Much!
17 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi Andrea,
Since your son didnt have a head injury, more than likely he will be fine. As far as having another seizure if and when he gets the wind knocked out, thats hard to say. Your son had what is called a Vasovagral related seizure.Im asuming that you are a nurse? If so, you are probably familiar with vasovagral syncope that happens to people (like myself) in response to sudden intense pain, blood test procedures etc. I have a tendency to have a drop in blood pressure and have to lie down if I cut myself, or if I have to have blood tests done. Anyway, two years ago I had a seizure during a vasovagral incident. I had never had a seizure before and havent since. What happened to me was unexpected. I had just gotten into my car with my husband on a very hot summer day. I opened a soda and drank a big sip. It went down the wrong way causing me to momentarily not be able to breath AND caused a very sharp pain in my chest. Next thing I know i felt the familar nausea and hot flash that comes right before you faint. My husband then says i fell over into his lap and then  had a grand mal seizure. He says I then came out of it saying "I dont know". After going to the hopital and having a CT scan as well as an ECG done to rule out something more serious, the doctor determined that the seizure was caused by the vasovagral episode. She told me that sometimes a combination of things can bring on a seizure like that. In my case it was probably the sudden sharp pain and inability to breath for a minute.Doc said that also since it had been a few hours since I'd eaten AND it was very hot in the car that those things probably contributed to the vasovagral related seizure. A soccer ball to the stomach (my son also plays) causes sudden intense pain and inability to breath which prbably caused his blood pressure to drop
vasovagral episode.This in turn caused a seizure.Doc told me that it probably wont happen again.Hope all is well for your son.
Avatar universal
I was relieved to read your story because we had a very similar incident with my 3 and a half year old last week.  He was at preschool, so I didn't observe it.  But as far as we can piece it together, he fell and had his wind knocked out, walked towards his teacher who met him halfway, and while she was holding him, he either fainted or had a seizure that was much more subtle than your son's.  The teacher reported tenseness in his body when she laid him down to perform CPR.  He turned blue and she blew breath into his lungs two times and he woke up.  I believe he would have woken up anyway.  He was reportedly slightly dazed, but when asked his name and age was able to respond.

You posted this over a year ago.  Have you had any incidents like this since?  

Thank you.
Avatar universal
I am not sure what parents did before the internet but wanted to thank you all for allowing me to calm down and breathe normal again. I am right now on my blackberry at mcdonalds and blessed to have found this posting. My almost five year old just fell and landed on his chest across the plastic stair to the play structure here. He immediately screamed and ram toward our table but as I grabbed him I realized he was not breathing. His body had gone limp and his eyes glazed over and his head flopped back. I had never seen anything like it. He started breathing and after about 15 seconds of disorientation appears fine. He ate and is playing again! Thanks for sharing your stories. Gives me a huge sense of relief and peace.
Avatar universal
I agree, this post has just put me to ease.  My daughter fell at the playground and hit her abdomen on a bar.  She ran to me telling me her belly hurt and then passed out turned pale and was making a snorting noise with her eyes fixed open.  Looked very seizure like but without jerking movements, more stiffness.  She came back around after about 15 seconds and is now very tired.

I called her pediatricians office and they wanted me to send her to the ED.  I am a nurse myself and in attempts to avoid her being poked and proded and put through a bunch of tests in the ED, I opted to observe her a home for a bit and do some research.

She is now back to normal after about 45min of rest, and just ate a meal.  After seeing this post, I am reassured that to follow-up with the doctor in the morning will be just fine.  Thanks
Avatar universal
My 7 yr daughter experienced exactly the same (wind knocked out followed by brief seizure) after falling of a bicycle.  I am not a 100% convinced that it was a Vasovagal event, in which reduced BP and hence reduce O2 to brain results in syncope.  Here, all kids seem to have experienced some sort of a seizure --- my daughter went stiff w/ mild convulsions, then limp w/ eyes rolled up.  However, it is reassuring to me that this happened to other children under similar circumstances and they have all recovered fully within minutes.
Avatar universal
My daughter who is 11 got the wind knocked out of her blocking a soccer ball that went into her abdomen--she went down like most kids with "getting the wind knocked out" and then suddenly went into a violent seizure-side to side flipped over-the coach got to her first said her eyes rolled in back of her head-foamed at the mouth-wasn';t breathing--we ran over(this all took about 30-45 seconds)she had come to and thought she "had a dream"-knew where she was--ambulance came went to emergency room had EKG and chest X-ray-both normal--just got back EEG results-it's been 6 weeks since incident and although there is no seizure activity, there is "slowing on left side of brain"waiting to talk with Dr.--what does this mean?  Now they want to follow up with MRI--she has been completely normal, now I am freaked out
Avatar universal
This is the only forum after an hour of searching that seems to share the same cause and symptoms of what happened to my 5y/o daughter today.

Playing on the ramp of a bouncy castle, she camp too far off the ramp and landed on her bum/lower back.  She sat there for ~5 seconds looking at me, then walked over and started crying which turned into a moan, and on my lap she had what I would have called a seizure more-so than a fainting.  Head back, eyes rolled back, body limp but stiff semi-stiff.  Out for about 15 seconds, then gradually regained consciousness.  She was fuzzy for a couple minutes, but eventually responsive.

At first I was worried about spinal trauma so I was more concerned with immobilizing her and making sure she could feel her legs, but she could.  It didn't occur to me until later when she explained that she was "trying to cry but didn't have any air" that she'd had the wind knocked out of her.

We had her in the ER for two hours and they still weren't anywhere close to getting to her (after the initial nurse's triage) and by that point she was bouncing around and being her normal self so we went home.  The trauma happened 10 hours ago and she's been perfectly fine ever since.
Avatar universal
Thank for this. My 11 year was playing basketball when someone threw the ball and knocked the wind out of her. Coaches and teachers ran to her side her eyes had rolled back in her head and her whole body tighten. She opened her eyes for a moment and then again her eyes rolled back. The doctor was unsure and is sending her to a neurologist to have it checked out but your post really helped to puty mind at ease during this tome of waiting
Avatar universal
Yup.  Just saw this same things last night.  Mild case.  Girl fell on a soccer ball after getting tripped from behind.  She wasn't able to brace herself well, so she got the wind knocked out of her - a bad case of it.  Her voice let out a constant, single pitched noise for about 10 seconds and I knew immediately that she was in that helpless, cant-breath state.  

I went over to her and told her that she would be fine.  I rolled her over to her back and, with her eyes wide open, she started to drift.  Her eyes mildly rolled back but never closed.  Her eyes went blank - that undeniable look that she had lost consciousness.  At that same time, her body went stiff and she appeared to be having a small seizure.  From the time her eyes started to roll to the time the life came back into her eyes was maybe 5 seconds.  

She let out a gasp and said, "I am fine now."  

I was never scared for her.  I have seen concussions and seizures and whatever she was going through was not concerning to me. It seemed bizarrely safe, if I dare say.  

After reading the prior blogs, my guess is that the pain, stress, loss of oxygen, and perhaps even some dehydration, led to a vasovagral incident.  

She sat out the rest of practice, very reluctantly.  I gave a full report to her Mom.  Her parents reported she was totally normal ever since.  
Avatar universal
My son just had a similar incident.   He was jumping on the air mattress and landed on his tailbone.  The mattress didn't have a lot of air in it and he landed hard on his bum.  I immediately ran to him and picked him up. At that point he started to pass out and couldn't breathe (bc of the wind knocked out of him).  He then flopped his head back and eyes rolled back of his head .  He didn't pass out completely but was limp and then a tightening of his body followed by a few twitches.  He then came back around after about 15-20 seconds and became tired but was comprehending everything I was saying.  He seems normal now.
Avatar universal
Just wanted to let everyone know, I have been having this same issue my entire life. I am 25 now, and every time i get the wind knocked out of me i blackout. The most recent one was this past summer, when i was sparing with my cousin, who threw me on my back. This caused me to be completely unable to breathe, no matter how hard i tried. When this happens, I start to turn pale, get hot flash and nausea symptoms, as well as being able to visibly see my peripheral vision turning dark.

While in the blackout (which feels like forever) i dream. The dreams are very bazaar and have nothing to do with what occurred. This is probably why you get the strange responses when they come back. I usually wake up a minute or two later shaking and scared/confused, with a cold sweat, and usually people standing over me asking if im alright.Im usually alright after a few mins of rest, sitting or lying down.

This has happened to me about once a year since kindergarten (i think). As far as i know, there are no major or long lasting side effects. I always return to normal after a few minutes. While this may scare you if this happens to a loved one, i found it best to just leave me alone for a bit until i wake up.

Here are a few things that i can remember that have caused this to happen to me:

Slipping off "monkey bars" onto back.
Soccerball to the stomach
Hit in the stomach
Hit in the back (kidneys?)
Thrown onto back
Trying to force out a burp

Hope this helps! I know how frightening this can be, since i experience it often.
Avatar universal
I doubt any of these were true seizures...I had this happen about 6 times between the ages of 5-10.  I was fully conscious every time and felt like my lungs were stuck together and I couldn't get air in.  My who body spasmed due to the limited oxgyen...and that looks like a seizure.....also I would think the spasming of the diagram would cause the body to move in seizure like motions.....the lack of oxygen can cause an altered mental state.  I had a different type of incident when I was 10 and deprived of oxygen, it affects your ability to move you limbs.
Look into vasovagal syncope as a potential cause! And I'm sorry to hear that you had oxygen deprivation at age 10. I can't even begin to imagine how terrifying that was for you.
Avatar universal
I am so thankful I found your posts! My 11 yr old had an event last night where he took a hit to the diaphragm and immediately went stiff.  Next thing I knew he spun around, flopped on his back and began having a mild seizure. It was the scariest thing I had ever experienced with him and I had no idea what to do!  Thankfully he is perfectly fine today. Thanks for your posts! They really put me at ease.
Avatar universal
My 21 month old little girl rolled off the couch and I picked her up and she couldn't catch her breath and eyes rolling back and stiff with weird arching like a seizure. I am praying it was just the wind knocked out of her and not neurological! This baby always hits her head and was extremely sleepy with concussion! I'm a wreck and just want to know she's okay! It was the scariest thing!
Avatar universal
My daughter had an ugly fall today at the playground. Got the wind knocked out of her. She tried breathing and before I know she she started to pass out. She also went semi-stiff.  Her eyes were rolled back and I could tell she was trying to breathe. I was calm and just talked her through each second. Telling her she’s will be fine and breath again.  Oddly I didn’t panic.  But I wanted to. Especially what looked like her losing  Consciousness.   It felt like an eternity. Right Before I started to think about panicking she began to breathe. She awoke and she seemed dazed but gathered herself quickly.

She’s doing great now but I hated being a parent at that very moment.  Because I couldn’t help her. It’s extrenly difficult seeing your kid suffer.  I hope i never see any of kids go through that again.  
Sorry for my typos.  Thanks for reading my post.
Avatar universal
I know this is an old post, but I'm answering for anyone who stumbles upon this post while frantically searching for answers! This sounds like a relatively harmless incidence of vasovagal syncope. The vagus nerve is responsible for causing this particular form of fainting and it runs through the diaphragm. Getting “winded” refers to a harmless, but supremely uncomfortable, situation where the abdomen is hit so hard that the diaphragm temporarily spasms. The accessory breathing muscles easily take over breathing, so people generally do not go hypoxic while their diaphragm is dysfunctional. Meaning, they still have an adequate amount of oxygen in their blood.

Vasovagal syncope is commonly mistaken for a seizure because it kinda looks like a seizure to the untrained eye. Vasovagal syncope was actually incorporated into the seizure section in my paramedic class because it's essential to understand this differential diagnosis when ruling out a true seizure. Vasovagal syncope occurs when the vagus nerve is hyper stimulated. This can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is simply a reaction to a needle stick and/or the sight of blood. It can also occur from intense pain or large volume fluid donation like blood or plasma donation. Getting winded is an interesting cause because it involves both intense discomfort and direct stimulation of the vagus nerve.

The signs and symptoms of vasovagal syncope generally include:
*Pale, extremely sweaty appearance
*Nausea with/without vomiting
*Intense thirst
*Ringing ears
*Tunnel vision
*A faint sensation as though you are about to pass out
*Feelings of impending doom “I'm going to die!”
*Very brief loss of consciousness
*Jerky (myoclonic) movements while unconscious
*In rare cases, the victim may soil themselves while they're passed out

A few very serious medical conditions mimic vasovagal syncope. But the key distinguishing feature is recovery time. Signs and symptoms of vasovagal syncope being to improve very quickly, especially if the victim actually loses consciousness. Vasovagal syncope also responds very quickly to the simple treatment of just lying down, though this isn't always the case. More serious conditions like heart attack, shock, or seizure will have a much slower recovery time/may be fatal without treatment. Seizures are generally brief, but include a “postictal” phase which last longer than the initial confusion, nausea, and grogginess following vasovagal syncope.

Vagus stimulation causes a rapid drop in blood pressure so it also almost mimics shock from blood/fluid loss. More severe instances of vasovagal syncope really do look A LOT like more serious conditions so they can be very scary for victims and loved ones. But it's a very fleeting condition with full recovery occurring within a few minutes. Though, victims may feel groggy and nauseated for the rest of the day.

It's important to note that this is not medical advice and I am not a doctor. But I am an experienced paramedic who is capable of offering medical education (ie knowledgeable and legally allowed). I have seen/feild diagnosed/treated TONS of cases of syncope and TONS of more serious conditions. However, my education does not replace your intuition. If you're scared that something may be a life and death situation, please summon an ambulance and/or go to the emergency department. Unexplained seizures/first time seizures always warrant a trip to the emergency room. So, if you really feel that you or someone else have had a seizure, please don't hesitate to seek emergency care! It's better to be seen and not actually need care than to be in a serious situation without receiving care!

Furthermore, it's worth bringing up any instances of vasovagal syncope with your primary care doctor/pediatrician. If this condition is happening very frequently, it's worth investigating. Plus, your doctor can offer tips on how to avoid these attacks or at least make them less severe feeling.

I hope this helps calm some concerned minds! Medical stuff can be so scary and so difficult to navigate.
This should specify "while their diaphragm is dysfunctional from getting winded". A diaphragm which is dysfunctional from other causes (like paralysis) will likely cause hypoxia.
Avatar universal
I should also add that concerning falls should be checked out in the emergency room. If the victim fell 2x+ their height, they need to be evaluated by an ER provider. Falls from a lower height require ER evaluation if the victim hit their head super hard. Urgent care can be used for stitches and mild to moderate broken bones.

Most people are actually really great at determining when something is a threat to life/limb, even in the absence of medical knowledge. So, again, trust your gut!
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