Turns out your mum was right. Headbanging can lead to a serious brain injury. At least that was the case outlined by doctors in Germany who treated a metal fan who suffered a blood clot after getting carried away at a Motörhead show.
Specialists treated the unnamed 50-year-old German man after he complained for two weeks of constant, worsening headaches. He had no prior history of head injuries or substance abuse problems but admitted to being a regular headbanger for years and had unleashed most recently at a Motörhead concert he attended with his son.
According to The Guardian, this is the fourth documented case of brain injury linked to headbanging, one of which resulted in death. However according to the doctors, the risk to cranially-animated metal fans in general is small.
“We are not against headbanging,” said Dr Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian, one of the doctors who treated the man. “The risk of injury is very, very low. But I think if [the patient] had gone to a classical concert, this would not have happened.”
This recent case was described in a report published online. The report describes headbanging as “a contemporary dance form consisting of abrupt flexion-extension movements of the head to the rhythm of rock music, most commonly seen in the heavy metal genre”.
Doctors treated their patient by drilling a hole in his brain to drain the blood. His headaches soon disappeared. In a followup scan, the doctors noticed a benign cyst which might have made our metal fan more susceptible than others to a brain injury, which should serve as a warning sign for other metal fans to think about getting a brain scan before it’s too late.
Still, according to doctors, we shouldn’t downplay Motörhead’s role in all this. “This case serves as evidence in support of Motörhead’s reputation as one of the most hardcore rock’n’roll acts on earth,” reads the report. “If nothing else because of their contagious speed drive and the hazardous potential for headbanging fans to suffer brain injury.”