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-alex-
06-05-2011, 02:45 PM
Hey guys,
Quick question,

A character is in a fight. She does have some martial arts knowledge etc, but it's 3 to 1, and those she's fighting are physically stronger than her.
She’s knocked unconscious. However, before she fades out completely, she just about makes out somebody coming to her rescue. While she’s unconscious, he take out her 3 attackers, and carries her off to safety.

So, my question, how long can she realistically be unconscious for, without needing to be hospitalized? And would she have any after effects over the next few days, such as a headache, dizziness etc? The person who comes to her rescue has a little knowlage of first aid.

Thanks.

mirandashell
06-05-2011, 02:57 PM
I'm no expert but I would say only a few minutes. Any longer than that and she will need medical help. But then again, in films and books, people can be out for days then wake up with no ill effects. So you can be as realistic as you want to be.

I've had concussion once and was out for just a few minutes. The biggest after-effect was the danger of unexpectedly passing out. I could be just walking around and then I would hit the floor, unconscious. I think this is why you are advised not to be on your own for at least a week afterwards.

Julie Reilly
06-05-2011, 03:08 PM
But are you aware of being knocked out?

One time at Uni I fell down some stairs and I was told I was out for a few minutes. It felt to me like I only closed my eyes and opened them again - no more than a blink. But there were people at the top of the stairs who hadn't been there before when I closed my eyes.

There was certainly no 'fading out'.

Another time, several years later, I was lifted off my feet by a freak gust of wind - I fell on a concrete step and banged the back of my head. Again, I closed my eyes and opened them again, and there were people - I don't remember being "out" as such.

I didn't go to hospital either time although I probably should have in the second instance as I had an egg on the back of my head for a week. But I also had a daughter in nursery I had to pick up.

Maybe its different for different people. Or the circumstances of you being knocked out might create a different effect.

mirandashell
06-05-2011, 03:12 PM
Actually, you're right. There was no fade out. I think a bang on the head is an instant lights out.

All I can remember is the leather football hitting me between the eyes and then being on the floor surrounded by my friends. I had no idea how long I was out for.

Fruitbat
06-05-2011, 03:24 PM
I agree with the others on the "fading out"- no, you're just *snap* gone instantly, until you come to.

StoryG27
06-05-2011, 03:50 PM
The only time I ever "faded out" was when my passing out had nothing to do with a hit to the head. I ripped a tendon in my ankle during a track meet and I did my next race anyway. The pain was so incredible, I guess I just held my breath the entire time and after I finally crossed the finish line, between the pain in my ankle and fire in my lungs, everything went a little fuzzy and I definitely got the "tunnel vision" people speak of, and then I was out.

My son had the a similar experience when he was struck hard in the chest with a soccer ball. It hit him just right and knocked the wind out of him while he was still upright. Eventually, lack of oxygen made him pass out too, and the way he described it was like fading out.

However, when he hit his head a few months ago and was knocked unconscious, he never knew he was out. He was out for about 20-30 seconds. The lingering effects (common from what the doc said) besides his split open head that needed stitches, was a headache for a little more than a day afterward, and in the immediate hours after it happened, he had some slight confusion and dizziness.

mirandashell
06-05-2011, 03:56 PM
So, Alex, if you want her to fade out, it's going have to be a lack of breath rather than a bang on the head.

-alex-
06-05-2011, 05:01 PM
Thanks for the replies all.

Hm. I dint realise it was always instant knock out. Ive read books where a character has been knocked out and woken up after hours.

What about getting smashed into a wall head first and passing out from that? Although id assume she'd medical attention for that?

Apart from loss of air is there any other way I could work this scene?

mirandashell
06-05-2011, 05:11 PM
Well, there's the thing. It depends on how realistic you want to be. It's such a common thing to have people knocked out for ages and wake up ok that most readers will probably let it pass.

I think the smashed into a wall thing will definitely be more serious.

Not every bang on the head is a knockout though. She could just be woozy/dizzy.

-alex-
06-05-2011, 05:15 PM
Well, there's the thing. It depends on how realistic you want to be. It's such a common thing to have people knocked out for ages and wake up ok that most readers will probably let it pass.Haha. Yes, perhaps, I'm trying to be TOO realistic in a fiction world... after all my subject matter is "supernatural".

jclarkdawe
06-05-2011, 05:59 PM
Your solution for writing this is that she catches a glimpse of someone coming to rescue her just before the lights go out. This works in one of two ways. One is some people do remember the instant before being knocked out. The other is people will fill in some blanks in their memories. Somebody came to help them, of course they saw them coming. Either one can happen in this type of situation.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Quentin Nokov
06-05-2011, 06:58 PM
My sister and I were pretend fighting on the trampoline once and we got to close to each other and she accidentally kicked me right in the cheek. I remember my head whirling to the blow and then I was lying on the trampoline looking up at her. Her hands clasped over her mouth and a look of fright welled in her eyes. I'm unsure as to whether or not I got knocked out or if it just all happen so quick, but either way I don't remember falling. If I was knocked out it was for a second or two.

On the subject of incidents happening quickly

One time our dog was almost strangled and we had to rush to get her collar off, except the other dogs mouth was twisted/caught around it and they were squirming all over the floor screeching so loud my sister's screams were almost inaudible. I hardly remembered much about the incident after it happened. I remembered a few things, but it was all foggy and that was a minute or two after it happened.

Any incident that involves adrenaline rushes, especially in frightful circumstances, the memory of it, isn't always clear. I know it doesn't have anything to do with being knocked-out, but I thought it might be worth posting. :)

VTwriter
06-06-2011, 12:54 AM
I took a blow to the head once. I never felt it. I regained consciousness about a minute later. Once I was conscious, my brain was slightly scrambled for several minutes. I couldn't remember things and had a hard time putting rational thought together.

I missed two weeks of work due to headaches and dizziness.

Canotila
06-06-2011, 02:21 AM
It's pretty instantaneous. When I fell out of a 30 foot high tree house I just remember hanging onto a branch and then opening my eyes a second later with my brother and cousin hovering over me looking all worried. No idea how long I was out for. It was long enough for them to climb out of the tree house, so a minute at least?

Same thing with other head injuries. One minute you're fine, then you're on your back with people looking down over you.

glutton
06-06-2011, 02:51 AM
Alternately, you could just have her get very dazed and then she could be aware of the guy saving her.

KQ800
06-06-2011, 02:56 PM
Hey guys,
Quick question,

A character is in a fight. She does have some martial arts knowledge etc, but it's 3 to 1, and those she's fighting are physically stronger than her.
She’s knocked unconscious. However, before she fades out completely, she just about makes out somebody coming to her rescue. While she’s unconscious, he take out her 3 attackers, and carries her off to safety.

So, my question, how long can she realistically be unconscious for, without needing to be hospitalized? And would she have any after effects over the next few days, such as a headache, dizziness etc? The person who comes to her rescue has a little knowlage of first aid.

Thanks.

Usually the person knocked out is groggy for a while after, and this can last for several minutes. If someone is incommunicable for more than a few minutes then likely it's a concussion.

See this page for good info:

http://www.medicinenet.com/brain_concussion/article.htm

KQ800
06-06-2011, 03:01 PM
Once I got knocked out during sparring, and what happened is I suddenly was on all fours, trying to get up. Bright orange and lime green splotches flickered over the floor and my arms. When I pushed the floor, if turned sideways like if you push hard on a door. then it came around and hit me on the side of the head, and I was out again. (I fell over, obv. But didn't know it then)When I came to I was told to lie still and complied.

If you have your protagonist knocked out, waking, and seeing someone fighting her enemies, she tries to get up and falls over hitting her head and aggravating her injury. Not well known, but falling over and hitting your head on concrete is far more dangerous then most kicks to the head...

JimmyB27
06-06-2011, 04:15 PM
Apart from loss of air is there any other way I could work this scene?
Why apart from loss of air? If she's fighting three people, it would seem likely that they'll be able to surround her, and from there, one of them grabbing her from behind and choking her out actually seems more likely to me.

debirlfan
06-06-2011, 08:23 PM
As someone said - she gets a glimpse of her rescuer coming (or hears him/her), and then gets hit in the head.

mirandashell
06-06-2011, 10:38 PM
I reckon that's the best idea. As it could be the reason she gets hit in the head. She's watching her rescuer rather than the bloke about to hit her.

-alex-
06-07-2011, 05:02 PM
Okay, thanks for all the info and help guys. Much appericated.

gan_naire
06-11-2011, 08:13 PM
One thing you might think about doing is making it so that the MC is dazed from the blow and in her hazy vision she sees someone coming, then someone hits her and knocks her out. I've had my share of all three situations of being dazed, fade out and black out, all sucked, but luckily with the black outs, I didn't even know it was happening haha.

A fade out would be like if someone was choking you into unconsciousness. This sucks very badly because your vision starts to close in (like tunnel vision) and the only thing you can really see is what's directly in front of you. If you want to see what it feels like, have a friend put you in a rear naked choke. If done properly it can take just ten seconds to lose consciousness, so make sure you trust your friend enough to know that when you tap, they'll let go.

Being dazed in a fight comes from head trauma (though in rare situations it can also come from body shots) and it's kind of like fading out since your vision becomes distorted and you can't really focus, but you're still conscious and even able to defend yourself, kind-of. Again this sucks, but it's not the harm of being dazed that sucks, it's the feeling of helplessness and paranoia that sets in quickly.

Being knocked out, either way is the same feeling. I've been knocked by a tree (thanks to a horse), a car (thanks to a female driver), another car only this time I was walking (thanks to a smartass friend), being hit with a baseball bat (not in a violent way, but simply that someone threw it at me and it happened to connect) and concrete (from where I fell and slammed the back of my head after a jerk off couldn't take his beating and came back and hit the back of my leg with a pipe).

I've personally never been knocked out in a fist fight though. I have been dazed and it scared the piss out of me (thank God it wasn't literal), but I was able to defend myself long enough to get my composure back. Either way, getting knocked out, is getting knocked out in the blink of an eye. And also, after a couple minutes, brain damage sets in to an unconscious person. It's very minor, but permanent. And if someone is unconscious for longer than ten minutes (I think) then they'll be having major issues.

Hope any of this helped.

PhatDad
06-11-2011, 11:23 PM
I was a doorman for years and, *cough*, saw several people choked out. All but one of them just seemed to stand there and take the choke until they were unconscious. The one that didn't I believe had experience in being choked out and was able to go for my balls resulting in me letting go and forcing me to go for more violent attempts to restrain.

On another occasion I was sucker punched in the jaw from the side as I escorted someone out and I recall my legs going from under me. I went down but used the momentum to bring my knees to my chest, rolling to my shoulders, almost performing a backwards roll, before rocking back and rising to my feet. Everything that happened is still there in my head.

I also came off my motorbike and knocked myself out on impact to the floor. I then slid down the road. I can't remember what happened before the accident other than I saw people walking about a row of traffic so I thought I'd better slow down in case a car pulls out on me. The next thing I remember is being stood and facing a police officer wondering 'Wow, he got here quick'. I then phoned my wife and told her mum who was at my house that I'd been in an accident to which the mother in law replied 'We know, you've already phoned and she's on her way'. My wife turned up only a few minutes later even though we lived 30 minutes away from the accident. I still wasnt' aware I had been knocked out and when the ambulance arrived I told them I hadn't been unconscious. I then found out that several passers-by had had to sit on me as I was fighting them and trying to stand up after the accident and they had been concerned about me. Again, I did not recall any of it.

There was no fading out or in and I had been conscious for a while but couldn't remember much of anything.

gan_naire
06-12-2011, 01:13 AM
I think that's the adrenaline, it does wonders in a fight or flight type situation. I've never had that happen to me personally, except having to be pulled off the person I was fighting, but the freakiest thing I ever saw was when I was helping a friend out on the side of the road and a lady came around the corner too fast on a wet road and slammed into my friends truck.

A kid (like 8 years old maybe) flew out of the side window in the back of her SUV and hit the pavement. We ran for the kid but before we even got to him, he was up and walking around trying to figure out where he was.

As for the hit to the jaw, it's a nerve that sends the body to go limp (I think it's like a defense mechanism, could be wrong about that), but if you either have a strong jaw (sounds like PhatDad does) or are used to fighting, then you can still function for defense until you gain your composure again.

As for the choking out, like PhatDad said, the guy who didn't struggle was probably used to it. The more you fight in that situation, the quicker you'll go out. It's funny how in these situations, the best thing to always do is remain calm. It also goes for car/bike accidents, drowning, etc.

ChristyM
06-12-2011, 06:03 AM
I have experience with a condition where if a person hits his head just right, he will cry, then start to pass out. At first (very, very young) they are cyanotic spells (central nervous system misfiring). Later, they are considered pallid spells (holding breath, denying body needed oxygen). They are not considered "abnormal" although they are incredibly scary and freaky. But, you are aware of what is going on, until your body goes into overload and you panic. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/tc/breath-holding-spells-symptoms

The thing is that your body kicks in and you are not really "knocked out" - that would be a concussion. You are very disoriented for about a half an hour afterward (and a cat scan shows no damage . . .)

-alex-
06-24-2011, 04:12 AM
Thanks for all the info everyone!

Gan... I don't think I'll try that, lol. But thanks for the info.

Orianna2000
06-25-2011, 01:31 AM
I had a friend once who got hit in the head during a friendly football game. He collided with another player and got knocked out. He wasn't unconscious for more than a few seconds, but the effects were pretty serious. On the way to the hospital, he kept dozing off, then waking and asking, "Where are we going?" His mom explained and he said, "Oh, okay." And then he'd zone out again, and repeat the question. It happened over and over. Scared all of us to death. I think the doctor said he had a mild concussion, nothing more serious than that.

On a more personal note, I passed out once at a doctor's office. I suddenly felt faint, like I was falling. I had time to say, "I think I'm going to pass out," and then I was collapsing. They caught me and laid me out on the floor, and the really weird thing was, I was fully aware of what was going on. I could hear the nurses talking, but I couldn't open my eyes and I couldn't respond to them in any way. It was like I was paralyzed. After a minute or two, it passed and I was able to open my eyes and sit up. They checked everything, but never found an explanation for why it happened. I know that's different from being hit in the head, though.

Rowan
06-27-2011, 04:06 AM
Hey guys,
Quick question,

A character is in a fight. She does have some martial arts knowledge etc, but it's 3 to 1, and those she's fighting are physically stronger than her.
She’s knocked unconscious. However, before she fades out completely, she just about makes out somebody coming to her rescue. While she’s unconscious, he take out her 3 attackers, and carries her off to safety.

So, my question, how long can she realistically be unconscious for, without needing to be hospitalized? And would she have any after effects over the next few days, such as a headache, dizziness etc? The person who comes to her rescue has a little knowlage of first aid.

Thanks.
I've had a concussion w/out losing consciousness so this is based on that experience. Even if you don't pass out, you have one hell of a headache and it can last for weeks. I was also dizzy, nauseous and just didn't feel right. At all. You can also have amnesia--either of the actual event or a time period preceding the event (I didn't).

The reason they insist you seek medical attention after a concussion / losing consciousness is due to the risk of internal bleeding (brain) and swelling. I remember the doctor telling me to take ibuprofen as needed for pain but then a lot of websites say not to take it because it can exacerbate bleeding issues associated with a brain injury. The doctor I saw subjected me to a battery of tests and because I wasn't slurring my speech / stumbling, had good reflexes and no memory loss, she didn't send me to get a MRI. She did give me an order for one in case my symptoms got worse.

It's the worst feeling...

Hope that helps!

ETA: I'm presuming your MC was hit on the head. :)

Al Stevens
06-27-2011, 04:23 AM
Ive read books where a character has been knocked out and woken up after hours.
Maybe if you are sleepy when the knockout occurs.


Apart from loss of air is there any other way I could work this scene?Drugs, hypnosis, watching Fox News or listening to Barry Manilow for an extended period of time.

RJK
06-27-2011, 11:25 PM
To get back to the OP's problem, why not have the character notice the rescuer a second before being hit on the head, then he gets whacked and goes down.

Amy LaBonte
06-27-2011, 11:30 PM
In the movies people are knocked out all the time and wake up intact. It's no stretch to believe that she can stay unconscious for a while and not suffer medical consequences. Real life examples abound.

Al Stevens
06-28-2011, 01:22 AM
Most boxers who have been knocked out are lead walking from the ring a few moments later. And they've taken a heck of a beating up to that point.

mirandashell
06-28-2011, 10:08 PM
Just because they are walking out of the ring, doesn't mean they are medically ok. The after effects may hit them in the dressing room, at home the next day or even later.

And when I read a book or see a film where a character is unconscious for hours and then wakes up with no side-effects, I do a big 'humph'.....