Natalie Foley
B.Pharm; M.Mgt (Mktg); Grad.Dip.Ed. (Secondary)
Mother of an adolescent with an mTBI

Using the current medical literature to construct a tailored ‘multi-disciplinary team’ to support her eldest son, Natalie Foley reviewed over 2,500 clinical papers and research articles. Her son sustained an mTBI in 2017 and the medical system she encountered did not match the best practice guidelines outlined in the literature. Drawing on skills derived from ‘medical affairs’ roles in the Pharmaceutical Industry combined with a Bachelor of Pharmacy and a Masters of Management, Natalie also developed an individualised set of visual communication tools and constructs to assist with briefing medical professionals.

Presentation Title
Stranger in a strange land. mTBI. A map and compass please!

Short Abstract
Amongst some incredible medical professionals there also exists a ramshackle and lackadaisical approach to the management of adolescent patients experiencing a ‘concussion’. The teenager is fundamentally abandoned to platitudes of “You’ll be fine! Just because the patient has stopped vomiting and crawling on the floor, does not indicate a good ‘recovery’. The fact that a young man with an IQ of 140 has lost the ability to read, should sound alarm bells – yet it doesn’t. The early days are spent attending specialist centres paying for short consultations and false reassurance. It’s not okay. It is physically, emotionally and financially corrosive. When my son sustained an mTBI after an unsecured locker came crashing down on his head whilst at school in 2017, I was surprised by the inadequacies of the systems in place. I am not alone. All you have to do is read ‘Clark Elliott’s book -The Ghost in my Brain’ to gain insight into this world, but I’d like to share my story and the creation of the multi-disciplinary team that now supports my son’s recovery. The team are spread from New York to Newcastle. I wouldn’t have found them without reading over 2,500 papers and making phone calls about a Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test, before finding my way to Brain Injury Australia. A new approach should be considered in managing mTBI recovery in adolescent patients.