Why can’t your body handle a punch to the liver? – Human Anatomy | Kenhub

Why can’t your body handle a punch to the liver? – Human Anatomy | Kenhub

This is the liver, and this is what happens
when someone punches you in the liver. A well-placed shot to the liver even one that’s
not particularly hard can put you in excruciating pain. If you’ve yet to experience this sensation
in your life, well, consider yourself fortunate. A blow to the liver whether a punch, a knee
or a swift kick will likely leave you incapacitated. In addition to the agonizing pain, you’ll
feel breathless, fatigued. Your legs may give out from under you. It’s not a matter of willpower or how big
or tough you are. A swift shot to the liver will shut your body
down. So why does this happen? Why is your liver so vulnerable? If we compare the liver shot to, say, the
head shot, you can see that they’re both extremely devastating. They both target a vulnerable part of the
body yet the effects of these strikes are actually quite different. When you see professional tough guys like
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone take a multitude of shots to the head without blinking only to
collapse when they’re struck by a single blow to the body, it seems kind of strange. However, the thing is when it comes to head
shots, well, they don’t really hurt – at least not in the moment. When you get knocked in the head, you become
disoriented, but you don’t necessarily process the pain. This is the opposite of a liver shot where
your mind is actually clear but your body has completely shut down. Now let’s take a closer look at the liver
to really understand what’s going on. This reddish-brown wedge-shaped organ is the
liver. It’s located on the right side of the body
below the diaphragm and overlying the gallbladder. It’s the largest and heaviest internal organ
in the human body weighing about one point five kilograms. This is about two point five percent of an
adult human’s body weight. The liver is responsible for many important
functions including the detoxification of harmful substances, protein synthesis, nutrient
storage and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion. It’s one of the most vital organs in the body. If your liver fails and you don’t get a liver
transplant, you die. According to a two thousand thirteen study
on blunt liver injuries, if a healthy adult male were to take a direct liver punch to
the side of the abdomen with a minimum punch speed of five meters per second, it would
be enough to cause liver injury. To put this in perspective, the average adult
male is likely capable of punching at a speed of six meters per second with estimates of
pro boxers or MMA fighters punching over twice that. Here you can see the extent of liver damage
caused by a six meter-per-second liver punch. A comparison of the simulated result on the
right with the victim on the left shows the severity of such an injury. A perfectly placed liver shot with even moderate
power and speed could rupture a liver. This is a fight between former UFC heavyweight
champion Bas Rutten – and expert in liver shots – and Jason DeLucia. This shot right here is the famous shot that
ruptured DeLucia’s liver. Okay, injury or not, the liver shot is still
going to take you out – at least temporarily – and the cause of this sudden paralysis
isn’t just due to extreme pain. Physiologically, there’s actually more going
on. When a punch initially lands on the liver,
there are dynamic pressure changes in the organ itself. The liver is flexible. It’s pliable, so if one side of the liver
gets compressed with a punch, the other side will get stretched. There are a lot of nerve fibers in the capsule
around the liver linking it directly to the autonomic nervous system. So, as the liver gets compressed and stretched
from the impact, you get nerve signals that move along this pathway. The part of the nervous system that controls
involuntary actions is the autonomic nervous system or ANS. Now, the longest nerve of the ANS is the vagus
nerve, and when this gets stimulated, a series of events start to unfold. First, there’s a sudden dilation or widening
of blood vessels all over your body with the exception of the brain. Normally when this happens, your heart rate
increases to maintain blood pressure to the cardiovascular system but in this case, the
stimulation of the vagal nerve network causes a decrease in heart rate. This happens at the same time as the dilation
of blood vessels so the blood pressure drops dramatically. In a last ditch effort to control the blood
pressure and maintain blood flow to the brain – since the functioning brain is vital for
life – the body tries to force itself into a horizontal or supine position. This survival tactic is the reason for the
collapse, and if the liver shot is severe enough, you could also lose consciousness. In a professional fight setting, all of this
is amplified due to the additional elements of pain, stress and dehydration from the weight
cut. Now you may be asking yourself, why this doesn’t
seem to happen with other internal organs? But the truth is, it does. Many organs are susceptible in the same way. It’s just that with the liver being the largest
organ in the abdomen and situated in a relatively precarious position that is protruding slightly
from under the rib cage, it becomes a larger and more exposed target. The kidneys, in comparison, are a lot less
vulnerable due to the surrounding muscle mass as well as being hidden well within the rib
cage. As we’ve evolved over time, the role of the
liver has increased in importance leading to an increase in size. Why the rib cage didn’t expand to fully protect
the liver, a vital organ, remains unclear. But as we all know, the human body isn’t a
perfect system. At the end of the day, if you get punched
in the liver, you will go down. But, as defenseless as you may feel, perhaps
there’s still a chance that you’re the one who will deliver the final blow. Thanks for watching. We hope you enjoyed this topic and if you’ve
ever been punched or kicked in the liver, tell us about it in the comments below. Give this video a thumbs up, share it, and
if you want to learn more about the fascinating liver, you can go ahead and check out the
Kenhub website. Alright, guys, until next time.


  1. Hi everyone! Thanks for all the comments and thumbs up on this video. What part of the video was an aha moment for you? You might now be able to handle a quiz on the anatomy of the liver. It might be easier than a shot to the liver. Check it out here: https://khub.me/22idh Good luck!

  2. That de-liver joke had me laughing for hours😂

    I cant even feel my stomach after watching this video. 😂😂😂😂

  3. Thumbnail shows kidney punch. Liver is on the other side of the body. I won’t believe anything in this video.

  4. blow to any organ cause similar pain , btw testes is more exposed than liver without any bone even partly covering it

  5. To use a persons weak spot to your advantage in a fight ain't honorable/manly tbh.
    But if you're getting assaulted, go for it. I guess.

  6. I got punched in the liver by a gurl who was a bully. I could not breath and it hurt. (She was a big gurl also)

  7. Once while riding a bike I ran over a rock, got flung off, then the handlebar struck my side. I felt immense pain and was unable to stand up for a solid minute, now I know why.

  8. Why the hell would this be in recommend. So your just teaching people to shut down other people’s bodies after one punch.

  9. I've got punched there as a joke. They did it on accident when I was play fighting someone. Although they didn't do it hard, I could hardly breathe for a few seconds and had trouble standing too.

  10. I remember getting hit in the liver when i started boxing when i was 11. It fucking hurt. Probably 2nd to worst pain ive felt.

  11. For those who are wondering how it feel, try this.
    Take your index finger and simply push it into your abdomen just where your right rib cage starts to come up to your sternum. under your rib cage while sitting down. You'll start to feel a tight pressure. If you dont keep trying till it feel a little bit like a pressure point. When you notice it, then try to imagine you've tensed up really hard from blocking shots from a man as strong as Bas Rutten and then he let's go a fully wound up shot to that liver. Anybody who's had this happen knows it's the most painful thing you can feel from one punch on the body.

  12. ok when theres a ass hole looking for a fight we know where to hit hit it good to fucking disable that ass hole

  13. I was an amateur boxer ,I got hit with a liver punch while sparing with a pro in the gym. All I could do was fall down and cry.

  14. I practice kickboxing and I can conferme that it’s the second strongest pain I have ever tried…the first is the kick down

  15. When you have the ability to throw this shot after three years of excruciating practice on a punching bag making sure that you throw a perfect punch every time trust me it floors you first time you get hit with it

  16. Good pun at the end yes I've been hit a few times in the liver and it hurts like a son of a bitch definitely worse than getting kicked in the nuts

  17. Here's the reason why.
    Genesis 2:21-22
    So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

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