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Originally published July 16 2014

Hardcore headbanging puts concert-goers at danger of possibly fatal cranial injuries

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) If you follow sports at all, you'll probably know there are new concerns about concussions from football, hockey, rugby, and soccer. Boxing's "punch drunk" syndrome from too many punches to the head has been around for some time.

In 2011, football's concussion crisis became a media matter with retired NFL players exhibiting early dementia from repeated concussions and complaining of how they were forced to continue contact activities with concussions.

Yes, even with those helmets, football players get concussions. Often the blows, especially from intense helmet-to-helmet collisions create the injuries. But there are other ways brain injuries can occur indirectly. As an old pithy saying goes, it's not the fall that kills, it's the sudden stop at the bottom.

Concussions or other brain injuries occur from sudden stops within violent actions that allow inertia to propel the brain into the skull and create damage. So now in addition to all those sports mentioned earlier, concerns about brain and neck damage from headbanging are getting attention.

No, headbangers don't hit their heads against other heads or against anything solid at all. The headbanging describes the violently exaggerated head thrusts that rock and roll musicians and concert going fans perform in sync with rapid loud music, usually heavy metal and speed metal. With each violent thrust, there is a sudden stop.

Report of a severe headbanger incident makes the media rounds

This unusual case report was submitted by the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany and the British medical journal The Lancet as published it as "Chronic subdural haematoma secondary to headbanging" in 2014.

A 50-year-old man had come into the Hannover Medical School's neurosurgical department in January 2013 complaining of a headache throughout his whole head that had been increasing in intensity for two weeks. His medical records showed no unusual medical history, and he had not been in any accident or physical trauma inducing activity recently.

But he had attended a Motorhead concert just prior to the advent of his increasingly severe headaches. The rock group Motorhead is reputed to be among the fastest, loudest, and most intense act today, and the headbanging mimics that music's speed and intensity levels.

A cranial CT confirmed he had a chronic subdural hematoma on the right side of his brain. Surgeons removed the hematoma (blood clot) through a burr hole and used closed system subdural drainage for six days after surgery. His recovery was considered complete when he came in for an exam two months later.

Cases of subdural hematoma from headbanger concerts are rare, but the lead author Dr. Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian explained headbangers' brain injuries can be sub-clinical and resolve on their own. As the NFL players and others know from experience, concussions not properly healed but aggravated with more violent activity leads to permanent neurological damage.

Pirayesh also quipped, "We are not against headbanging. But if our patient had attended a classical concert this would not have happened." He continued by mentioning how this particular case "proves that Motorhead is one of the most hardcore rock and roll bands around because of the music's addictive speed drive."

Motorhead may offer potentially hazardous risks of brain injury for their fans. But it's not just a threat to concert goers. Headbanging musicians have also undergone treatments for cases of headbanging-related cranial injuries and whiplash related neck injuries.

They include Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine, operated on for stenosis, a painful neck condition that he stated was the result of headbanging. Evanescence guitarist Terry Balsamo suffered a stroke from the practice in 2005, and Slayer vocalist and bassist Tom Araya underwent a fusion and cervical discectomy in 2009, also from fierce headbanging.

This author is injury-free after attending many jazz and classical concerts with an occasional Indian raga performance. Why bother risking injury at an overly loud, crass heavy metal rock concert?

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