ZocdocAnswersI was struck by a golf ball yesterday in the chest. What should I do?

Question

I was struck by a golf ball yesterday in the chest. What should I do?

I iced it down and taking pain killers is there a way I can tell if I need to do more

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your injury. In order to determine whether anything else is necessary, a physician will need to review the details of your medical history and also perform a physical exam. I encourage you to schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor. After an in-person evaluation, the doctor will decide whether additional testing or treatment is necessary. With any sort of blunt trauma, it is necessary to determine the typical force involved. With high level impacts, internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and aorta can be damaged. This is very unlikely in the type of injury you describe. There is a condition called commotio cordis. This occurs when blunt trauma to the chest causes an extra contraction of the heart at a critical time, thus leading to a dangerous arrhythmia. It is unlikely to occur with such a low impact injury, although it is theoretically possible. You will need to discuss this with a physician. If you are still having pain and swelling, it is possible you suffered damage to your sternum or ribs. This may require more aggressive pain management. Given your ongoing symptoms, I recommend you schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.