The Headknock Foundation has been set up to raise awareness about concussion in sport by offering education campaigns and support programs for those affected and their families.
Headknock is a Legacy Foundation to honour the loss of a beautiful person Maria. Maria was the victim of a tragic car accident as a passenger where the driver unknowingly suffered an epileptic fit and hit a tree. Maria died instantly.
You see, that driver was my brother and with much devastation and pain he lost his lifelong partner and the love of his life. To put it lightly my brother Paul had suffered one of the most traumatic experiences of his life.
Shortly after he learnt that his epileptic condition was most likely connected with concussions he suffered while playing grassroots AFL. It was at that moment that he had realised that there was much to learn about his condition but it all was too much as he was still trying to cope with the accident and the loss of Maria.
Just prior to the accident my brother Paul had been diagnosed with an epileptic condition. He had been suffering from headaches, memory problems and moments of being temporarily paralysed. At that time of the diagnosis both Maria and Paul were provided with little education or support by the medical profession and received inadequate treatment, which if provided could have avoided a series of unfortunate and tragic circumstances.
With further research and the proper medical care that followed after the accident, Paul learnt that his epileptic condition was far worse than initially thought and that his footy days and numerous concussions may have been strongly linked to his condition. This explosive news opened up a new door of information and we wanted to share this with others. We knew that it was so important.
However his quest to find more answers and to share his story was cut short, as in an unbelievable twist Paul was then charged with Manslaughter. He is currently serving a prison term in NSW.
As his sister, I have followed through on a promise to create this Foundation to tell his story. We believe that it is essential that others become more aware of the seriousness of sports related concussion. It literally can have a major impact on peoples lives. My other motivation was purely to support my brother - to give him a sense of hope and direction after going through this horrific set of circumstances. It is one thing to suddenly learn about the diagnosis of a neurological condition, but another to know that this condition would lead to the death of his soulmate....and then to be incarcerated for it! Well what else can I say.
I hope that this Foundation can help him and others who may also have stories and hardships to share. It also aims to offer support by providing a safe forum to learn and discuss experiences through networking and sharing as individuals or as groups - something that my brother never had.
1. Reach out to the community to raise awareness of concussion in local sport and the importance of brain health.
2. Reach out to the community to raise awareness about epilepsy and PTE (Post Traumatic Epilepsy) and the risks associated with this condition if not properly managed.
3. Develop and deliver educational programs to schools, local sporting clubs, the community and other relevant stakeholders to improve knowledge and understanding about concussion in sport, general brain health and the importance of personal brain development and awareness.
4. Design and deliver educational programs about the risks of epilepsy(PTE) and the importance of management of this condition in relation to safety of self and others.
5. Create a forum for support for those persons and their families who may be affected by brain injuries sustained as a result of head knocks whilst playing sport.
Established in 2020
Headknock was set up after my brother Paul was diagnosed with epilepsy in his early 50s which tragically led to a horrific car accident resulting in the death of Maria. Remarkably my brother was charged with manslaughter for her death and sadly is currently serving a term in prison. He has been there since July 2019.
It wasn't until after the accident that Paul learnt more about his condition and how it was also a symptom of post traumatic epilepsy(PTE) which may have been attributed from repeated concussions playing local footy. Before the accident his condition was not properly diagnosed and poorly managed. Paul was provided with little or no education about epilepsy and or brain trauma and remarkably was legally and medically approved by a neurological doctor to drive on the very day that the accident occurred.
Since my brother was not adequately diagnosed in the initial stages and there was no reference to PTE we found that there was a huge gap in this area and that there was a need for further education and understanding.
Currently my brother is suffering immensely and has severe depression while serving a term in prison. On a daily basis he struggles to come to terms with his reality. To help him and others who may be in similar circumstances this foundation aims to change the way that brain conditions such as PTE are understood and managed by providing vehicles to raise awareness and to educate communities about the real life consequences of complacence.