Clinical shock is a medical condition that is much more serious than the general emotional shock which someone may sustain when they witness or are involved in a minor road traffic collision.
To function normally, the organs need sufficient blood pressure (perfusion pressure) to maintain blood flowing through them to deliver oxygen and other nutrients. If that pressure fails, then the organs cannot work properly. In a contact sport setting, this can be due to:
- Not enough blood or fluid in the circulation (most commonly due to bleeding – haemorrhagic shock).
- A spinal cord injury interrupting the nerve supply that normally constricts the arteries to support the blood pressure. Hence, they dilate and blood pressure falls (neurogenic shock).
Blood loss and haemorrhagic shock is far more common than neurogenic shock. The fundamental difference between these two types is that in haemorrhagic shock there is not enough blood in the circulation, but in neurogenic shock there is the correct amount of blood but in the wrong place. Consequently, there may be confusion from the brain not functioning correctly or the casualty may feel faint due to low blood pressure.
REMEMBER THAT CONCUSSION IS A MORE COMMON CAUSE OF CONFUSION THAN SHOCK.