ABC Science reports, a British Medical Journal study “concluded that headbanging to a typical heavy metal tempo could cause mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, and neck injury, particularly as the tempo of the music and angle of movement increased.”
The researchers, including a professor from the University of South Wales, first set out to observe headbanging in it’s natural habitat; rock concerts. They chose Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, and Motorhead concerts to “identify the most popular head-banging techniques and better understand the biomechanics of the movement.”
For Professor McIntosh, going to the shows was a risky endeavour, as there were “potential adverse outcomes of dealing with excited patrons who may have been ‘under the influence of things’.”
Back at the lab, a focus group of local musicians was formed to perform the headbanging. To compare the risk of heavy metal headbanging to your everyday adult contemporary variety, the researchers chose Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” They couldn’t find any non-heavy metal concerts in which headbanging occured to compare the live experience, although they did attend an Andre Rieu concert just in case.
Their conclusion? If the tempo is at an average of 146 beats per minute and the movement of the head and neck is greater than 75 degrees, headaches and dizziness may occur. For the researchers, this suggests the onset of a “mild traumatic brain injury.”
No, this not an article from The Onion. We’ll just throw this one into the “you can’t make this stuff up” file.