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Katherine Forch

Vestibular Physiotherapist & Rehabilitation People Lead

BHSc (Physiotherapy), PGDipHSc (Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy) with Distinction, MSEPNZ, NZRP

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Katherine is the physiotherapy clinical lead for the Axis Concussion Service. Outside of working at Axis Katherine teaches other health professionals around the issues following concussion, these groups have included Sports Medicine NZ, Physiotherapy NZ and High Performance Sport NZ. She is currently completing her Masters research in the area of exertional return to play testing following sports related concussion.


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As well as being physiotherapy clinical lead for the Axis Concussion Service, Katherine is currently also working at AUT, in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, lecturing in the post graduate MSK programme and teaching undergraduate physiotherapy students. 

Hailing from Devonport, on Auckland's North Shore, after graduating from AUT with a degree in physiotherapy in 2009, Katherine worked for Tairawhiti DHB in Gisborne. While working there, she developed an interest in vestibular rehabilitation. Following a shift to private practice and sports medicine, she completed the Herdman Competencies for vestibular assessment and management with teaching staff from Emory University and the Mayo Clinic in 2012. 

Katherine has been part of the Axis Concussion Service since it was piloted in 2016 and is passionate about optimising targeted management for patients with these injuries. She is interested in the assessment of the sensory systems and how these can contribute to symptom load, including the vestibular, visual, and cervicogenic (neck).

Katherine teaches workshops to other health professionals on visual and vestibular management of issues following concussion, and regularly participates in supervision or assists with second opinions for other physiotherapists.

She provides educational speaking services to organisations including Brain Injury Hawkes Bay, Sports Medicine NZ, Physiotherapy NZ, High Performance Sport NZ, and the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians registrar programme. Katherine travelled to Phoenix, Arizona in 2019 to attend the annual conference and two day training course of the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) – of which she is the only physiotherapist member from NZ. 

She is completing her Masters research in the area of exertional return to play testing following sports related concussion. 

Katherine is currently also a member of a Clinical Expert Group for ACC, aiming to improve diagnosis and management of concussion in primary care settings. 

As well as her concussion work, she has extensive experience in team management and sideline physiotherapy and loves a good game of rugby.  

Outside of work, she enjoys being a mum, surfing and mountain biking, and recently had the stimulating, mildly terrifying, but ultimately successful experience of attempting to learn to ski as an adult. This has given her a new appreciation for some of the balance difficulties her patients describe following a concussion. 

Team Involvement and Achievements

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Professional Memberships:

  1. Sport and Exercise Physiotherapy NZ
  2. Sports Medicine NZ
  3. NORA
  4. NZ Society for Dizziness, Balance and Vertigo