Winded (Solar Plexus Syndrome)


Being winded refers to what happens when you are subjected to a sudden forceful impact to the abdomen, and is very common in contact sports like rugby. This causes breathing difficulties and is often described as having the wind knocked out of you. The symptoms usually pass in 10-15 minutes as the diaphragm relaxes and recovers from the blow.

Symptoms of being winded

Being winded is caused by a sudden blow or impact to the stomach or sometimes from a fall onto the back. The athlete will have difficulty breathing deeply and possibly difficulty breathing at all. They will often be anxious or panicking about the inability to breathe.

What happens when you get winded? 

Specifically, a blow to this area which results in a winding causes compression of the nerves behind the stomach - the solar plexus. This causes the diaphragm to contract and go into spasm, which makes it difficult to breathe in and out properly. Once the diaphragm relaxes, breathing becomes easier.

Being winded is most common in contact sports such as Rugby and may also happen in ball sports such as soccer or where the athlete falls to the floor such as in martial arts.


Sit in a crouched position as this helps the muscles to relax. Try to stay calm and take slow deep breaths. The condition should improve within 10-15 minutes. If not, seek medical attention in case of further injury such as a fractured rib or collapsed lung.