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Long term post-concussion syndrome is mostly avoidable, it has devastating effects for those suffering, and one businesswoman has decided enough is enough.

An innovative free event, Baseline, which has the ambitious goal to test New Zealand and to stamp out long-term post-concussion syndrome nationwide, is being spearheaded by Helen Tufui, physiotherapist, and founder of The Headache Clinic.
Tufui is renowned in her field, having recently treated All Black Beauden Barrett, who has suffered from persistent concussion symptoms.

“I’ve seen many teammates, including my older brother, leave the game due to concussion injuries and until a month ago I was struggling to accept the potential reality whilst trying many alternative treatments,” Barrett says.

“I have seen immediate results from Helen’s work and I’m positive the Baseline event will have long term benefits for our sports people across New Zealand”

Post-concussion syndrome occurs when concussion symptoms last beyond the expected recovery period after the initial injury. The syndrome is more common among sportspeople, especially in high impact sports including rugby.

The inaugural Test NZ Baseline event will be held in Southland at the end of the month and will give the opportunity for attendees to have their medical and neurological baseline tested and recorded. This provides a normal, healthy function (baseline) recorded on a national database while the individual is well, providing a reference point and significantly reducing the risk of long-term damage following a future concussion.

The event is being supported by community groups and sporting entities. ILT Marketing Manager, Angee Shand, said ILT is absolutely delighted to be involved and to support the event.

“It is wonderful to see Invercargill leading the way on the national stage and the potential impact of such an initiative is immeasurable,” she said.

Event coordinator, Tufui is a qualified physiotherapist and has been working exclusively in the field of headaches, migraines, and concussions for the past 8 years, and said that New Zealand is a sporting nation that had concerning statistics on long-term damage from concussions.

“A lot of long-term persistent concussion is avoidable. We are a sporting nation, so we need to be proactive on this. I'm passionate to see our sporting communities tested, not just our elite athletes. I’d like to see this condition become less common,” she said.
Between 1997 and 2019, concussions presented to emergency departments in New Zealand have increased threefold.
“It’s devastating and a significant amount is preventable. So, we are offering the testing free to all who attend. We want this to be available to anyone that plays contact sport nationwide,” Tufui said.

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