Sunday, January 02, 2011

The headbangers on a highway to casualty: Experts warn rock dance can cause brain injury

The faster the song, the greater the chances of neck injury, according to researchers in Australia. They even suggest protective equipment such as neck braces could be the next must-have accessory at a gig.

Professor Andrew McIntosh, of the University of New South Wales, said headbanging to songs such as AC/DC’s Highway to Hell put fans at risk of ‘mild traumatic brain injury’. He added: ‘This study helps to explain why metal concert-goers often seem dazed, confused and incoherent.’

The study, published in the Christmas issue of BMJ (British Medical Journal) Online, says headbanging started in 1968 at a Led Zeppelin concert where fans hit their heads on the stage in time to the music.

It has developed into a collection of distinctive styles including the up-down, the circular swing, the full body and the side-to-side. . . .

For their study, Professor McIntosh and researcher Declan Patton, of the university’s school of risk and safety sciences, attended a number of concerts by artists including Motorhead and Ozzy Osbourne.

They identified the up-down style as the most common headbanging technique and constructed a theoretical model to examine the effect of the head and neck motions. . . .

Professor McIntosh said: ‘To minimise the risk of head and neck injury, headbangers should decrease their range of head and neck motion, headbang to slower tempo songs by replacing heavy metal with adult oriented rock, only headbang to every second beat, or use personal protective equipment.’

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