I recently sparred in a tournament and got punched in the chest. I would like to know if such attacks are dangerous.
The condition, commotio cordis, or chaotic heart, first documented in 1876, may result when a person is struck on the chest. In rare cases, light blows to the chest that hit directly over the heart directly can cause it to misfire and stop. Cases have been reported where the blow was caused by a baseball, a cricket ball, a football, a snowball, contact in martial arts, and even as a result of dog jumping onto a child’s chest. Although rare, there have been hundreds of reported cases of death over many decades. Survivors owe their lives to prompt use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or the availability and use of a defibrillator to restart the heart. A chest blow may be fatal if aimed directly over the heart and timed to a vulnerable 15 millisecond window during a heartbeat. Research suggests that the blow causes a "spike" in blood pressure that stretches the heart muscle and causes a chemical chain reaction that causes the heart to contract far too early, stopping it mid-cycle. The impact short-circuits electrical impulses that keep the heart beating without causing any physical injury. Hard blows can bruise muscles or cartilage or even bruise or break ribs. Since you had no problem from your chest blow, you should be okay.