According to the Guardian Australian scientists have advised that headbanging potentially lead to brain damage but that wearing a neck during the activity can reduce the risk.
"We identified a definite risk of mild traumatic brain injury from headbanging." Dr Andrew McIntosh, of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), told the Australian newspaper. "We would suggest a proper public health warning, as for smoking." The results of his research were published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.
Researchers at UNSW's school of risk and safety sciences found that risk of neck and head injury was directly related to song tempo. The average heavy metal song, with a tempo of 146 bpm, is likely to cause mild injury if the head's range of motion is greater than 75 degrees. Songs like Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart – at 180 bpm – are among the most dangerous, leading to anything from mild headaches to mosh-induced strokes.
McIntosh and co-author Declan Patton advised that "Adult-oriented rock" is much more safe, as it involves a slower rate of head-bopping. The study's authors also observed the headbanging of cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead. Listening to the Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated, Beavis kept his "angular head velocity" within safe limits, they wrote. Butthead did not. "It is well understood, however, that cartoon characters are able to tolerate greater than normal impacts without injury," the study drily noted.
Injury can also be avoided by the use of a neck brace. Or, McIntosh advised, "learn to ballroom dance. That's the takeaway message".
I Headbanged to Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Girlschool AC/DC et al in my youth and I ain’t not never had no brane problems. For me and more many others the idea of switching to AOR wonders like Kansas and err stuff like that would be like a living death!