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Knocked in sternum. Collapsed with sharp headache. Do you think it is an injury? Are there long term side effects?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
Answered : 6714 Questions
My son took a knock in the sternum at Rugby on the weekend. He collapsed breifly saying he felt his heart stop and a sharp momentary headache. He described seeing nothing but blue thru his eyes momentarily and struggled to breath. He recovered fully within miniutes and showed no further discomfort. He was observed routinely thru the night and reports to be well today. Should I have him reviewed by a doctor ? What possible injury could have been caused ? Is there any potential for longtherm side effects ? Thanks for looking into this for me. Cheers, MK
Posted Wed, 4 Jul 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 57 minutes later
Hello and thanks for the query.
From the description of events it looks that the knock on sternum has resulted in a hit on the solar plexus resulting in temporary collapse. 
The solar plexus is  located just below the center of the ribcage. A strike to this area causes the diaphram, which is the muscle that controls lung inflation and deflation, to spasm. In this state, one is unable to take a breath until the diaphram returns to normal. So, when you get whacked here, you can't breathe. 

Although there can be various damages due to strike on solar plexus like fracture of ribs or sternum,injury to liver,gall bladder,stomach,spleen or may be at abdominal aorta but all these should cause various problems to the person.
Since your son is alright even after 24 hours suggest that he seems to be completely normal and no XXXXXXX injury seems to be there.However keep a watch on him for next couple of days and in case you find some abnormal symptom,you can go to ER.
There are no longterm effects or damages caused by injury like this.
I hope to have answered your query however you may revert to me for any further query.
Best of luck.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Knocked in sternum. Collapsed with sharp headache. Do you think it is an injury? Are there long term side effects? 37 minutes later
There have been reported incidence of heart failure post such an injury. Is this something we should take into consideration ? Could he have suffered mild arrhythmia ? Thank you for responding so quickly Dr XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 5 minutes later
It looks highly unlikely in him since he is very young and also doesn't have any previous history of heart ailment.
Relax and don't worry.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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