Training-Room Tips: Helping Athletes Who Have Had Their Wind Knocked Out

Training-Room Tips: Helping Athletes Who Have Had Their Wind Knocked Out

Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

Athletes who've had the wind knocked out of them suffer from a temporary paralysis of the diaphragm, usually a spasm of the solar plexus due to a blow they've received to the abdomen.

Once you've determined that there's no head, neck or other serious injury, here's a technique you can use to restore your athletes' breathing—and ease their anxiety.

Lift the Hands Over the Head So Injured Athletes Must Arch Their Back. Encourage Them to Take Short Inhalations and Long Exhalations
Lift the Hands Over the Head So Injured Athletes Must Arch Their Back. Encourage Them to Take Short Inhalations and Long Exhalations

Over-the-Head Technique
First, loosen any tight clothing. Then, have the injured athletes kneel with one knee forward, while you stand behind them. Take their arms and extend them fully upward, asking them to arch their back while taking short inhalations and long exhalations. You can breathe with the athletes to demonstrate.

It usually takes 5-10 seconds to restore normal breathing, but continue to hold the position for 30 seconds or more, or until the athletes know their spasm has subsided.

Prone or Standing Position
If athletes are in a prone position and can't get up, put them on their back and instruct them to extend their arms over their head while arching their back. Breathe as above.

If you are a lot taller than the afflicted athletes, perform the overhead technique with them while they are standing.


If Athletes Can’t Get Up, Perform the Same Technique While They’re Lying on Their Back
If Athletes Can’t Get Up, Perform the Same Technique While They’re Lying on Their Back


References:
1. Adam Thompson (MS, ATC), “Pearls: Helping when the ‘wind is knocked out.'” The Physician and Sportsmedicine, September 1999.
2. Brent Rich, Mitchell Pratte, Tarascon Sports Medicine Pocketbook, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2009.


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© 2011, Physical Education Update.com, www.peUpdate.com

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