How would you write a scene of someone trying to breath again after getting the wind knocked out of them?

I am trying to describe the experience and how your body reacts physically while your brain tells you to hurry/it feels like it is suffocating.

2 Answers 2


Similar questions have been asked often before on this site – from How do I realistically describe using a whip? to How do I describe the sound of an oar touching the water? –, and the answer is always the same:

Do your research.

  1. Read about it. Possibly people have written about the experience.

  2. Talk to experts about it. A good place to ask is Quora.

  3. Observe the thing. Go where whatever you want to describe happens (in your case this could be a boxing ring).

  4. Make it up. Use your imagination to infer from similar experiences (holding your breath, falling, being ill etc.) what it might feel like.


Having had the wind knocked out of me I can tell you the following:

  1. It hurts. It takes a strong blow to the upper body to knock the wind out of you. Whatever part of the body that got hit is going to hurt for a while after you get your breath back.
  2. It is scary. You can't draw a breath, but you need air. You can go through the motions of breathing, but you don't get any air. I remember gulping and trying desperately to get air - and not getting it.
  3. Trying to breath hurts. Every attempt to draw air hurts until things get back to normal.
  4. It goes back to normal after a couple of minutes - and there's not really much you can do to speed it up.
  5. You don't really "get the wind knocked out of you." Your lungs are still full of air. It is just that the diaphragm that moves your lungs is temporarily paralyzed. The paralysis goes away and you can breath again.

I got the wind knocked out of me by jumping off the six foot (2 meter) high roof of a garden shed and landing flat on my butt instead of my feet. My backside hurt and my back hurt for several days afterwards.

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