Headbangers beware: a metal fan in Germany was found to have given himself a brain injury through years of vigorous head-banging – most recently at a Motörhead concert.
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According to a study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet, the 50-year-old man sought help from doctors at Hannover Medical School after suffering constant, worsening headaches four weeks after rocking out at a Motörhead show. He had no history of head injuries and no substance abuse problems. After taking a CT scan, the doctors found that the man was bleeding on the right side of his brain.
The doctors wrote in the study (via the Daily Beast) that "headbanging, with its brisk forward and backward acceleration and deceleration forces, led to rupturing of bridging veins causing haemorrhage…" and sagely concluded that the case "serves as evidence in support of Motörhead’s reputation as one of the most hardcore rock’n’roll acts on earth, if nothing else because of their contagious speed drive and the hazardous potential for headbanging fans to suffer brain injury."
The headaches disappeared after doctors drilled a hole in the man's skull to drain the blood. Neurologists also found a benign cyst in his cranium that they say may have made him especially vulnerable to injury while headbanging. The Lancet study noted that there have been at least three other cases of brain bleeding caused by headbanging, one of them fatal.
Nevertheless, one of the doctors who treated the German patient declined to condemn headbanging outright. "We are not against headbanging," Dr. Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian told the Associated Press. "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."
But perhaps the doctor simply realized that attempting to eradicate such a vital form of self-expression would be fruitless. "Rock & roll will never die," he said. "Heavy metal fans should rock on."
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