Thursday, March 27, 2014

Knockout Punches and Concussions

The film showing on the right was taken in September, 2012 during a football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Browns' player Josh Cribbs took the hit and was knocked out. Cribbs regained consciousness, but suffered a concussion and was removed from the game. The initial blow was delivered to the left side of the head in the temple area. The secondary blow occurred when Cribbs' head hit the ground, bounced up, and then hit the ground again. 

The blow that knocked out the boxer in this picture was delivered to the left temple and forehead. As can be seen, the force behind the blow was so great that it created a temporary distortion of all facial features.

The blows shown here occurred rapidly and with great force, and they all caused the brain to slam back and forth within the skull. The greater the speed and force of the blow, the greater the damage done to the brain.

Depending on the size and muscle mass of the person throwing the punch, plus the size of that person's fist, an average swinging punch will exert about 650 to 800 pounds of force on the area of the body hit by the punch. A professional boxer can exert about 900 ponds of force on the target, while a kickboxer's kick can fall in the range of 1000 to 1400 pounds of force. Even the average force of 600 pounds to the head can cause a knockout and do damage to the brain.

When we speak of force in a knockout situation, we're talking about force exerted on the head in one of two ways. The first is called transitional force, and that's the kind of force that causes the head to snap straight forward or backward or directly to the side. The second type of force is called rotational force. It causes the head to rotate on the neck in a turning motion. 

Blows that result in one or both of these types of force being exerted against the head are what cause the slingshot motion of the brain inside the skull that can lead to a traumatic concussion and temporary shutdown of electrical impulses within the brain. That shutdown results in unconsciousness, or what we call a knockout. 

According to most sources, targeting the chin with an uppercut blow, the jaw with a sideswipe punch, or the temple with a direct blow are the easiest ways to cause a knockout.   



  1. I remember slipping on the ice late one afternoon and bonking the back of my head really hard. I'm surprised I wasn't knocked out. Anyway, I have a feeling it didn't knock any sense into me, because I still love to write, frustrating as it sometimes can be!

  2. Ouch! It's nice of football players to sacrifice their bodies for our entertainment, but I wish they wouldn't! I've knocked myself out twice, once on the ice and once on a cement tennis court. I guess there's no permanent damage, but it's hard to tell, right? Thanks for the vivid explanation, Mary!

  3. I'm glad to hear that neither you, Kaye, nor you, Morgan, were seriously hurt in your falls. Repeated concussions can cause permanent damage to the brain, but it sounds like you two don't plan to make a repeat performance of your previous tumbles. :)

  4. No, ma'am, I don't! But I'm glad I know what it feels like to be knocked out, given my current career. I don't ice skate any more and I haven't jumped over a tennis net since that day.