It turns out that heavy metal really can be dangerous for your health – at least in some rare cases - following the news that a German heavy metal fan suffered bleeding in the brain after a night of headbanging at a Motörhead concert.
The unnamed 50-year-old man was treated by doctors at Hannover Medical School after complaining of constant, worsening headaches. According to reports, the patient had no history of head injuries or substance abuse problems, but told doctors that he had been headbanging regularly for years – most recently at a Motörhead concert that he attended with is son.
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A scan revealed that the patient had suffered bleeding on the right side of his brain and needed keyhole surgery to drain the blood. A subsequent scan revealed that the man had a benign cyst which may have made him more vulnerable to injury.
"We are not against headbanging," said Dr. Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian, one of the doctors who treated the patient. "The risk of injury is very, very low. But I think if (our patient) had (gone) to a classical concert, this would not have happened."
Islamian said the violent shaking of the head in headbanging can sometimes be enough to cause damage as the brain bumps up against the skull and noted a handful of previous injuries, also in heavy metal fans.
The latest case was described in a report published in the medical journal Lancet.
However, Islamian stressed that these were extremely rare cases and that heavy metal fans should not give up headbanging for the sake of their health. "Rock `n' roll will never die," he said, adding, "Heavy metal fans should rock on."
"There are probably other higher risk events going on at rock concerts than headbanging," agreed Dr. Colin Shieff, a neurosurgeon and trustee of the British brain injury advocacy group Headway. "Most people who go to music festivals and jump up and down while shaking their heads don't end up in the hands of a neurosurgeon."