An extraordinary medical case report in 2017 details the curious case of how a teenage girl suffered a "boy band-induced" collapsed lung after screaming too loud at a One Direction concert. Who said teenie bopper pop tunes were just harmless fun?
Reported Journal of Emergency Medicine, the case study — wonderfully titled “Screaming your Lungs Out!” A Case of Boy Band-Induced Pneumothorax..." — explains how a 16-year-old girl with a history of type-1 diabetes visited the emergency department in Texas after experiencing shortness of breath. Other than this she appeared remarkably fine and did not report any chest pain or sore throat.
On further examination, her doctors noticed she had crepitus, meaning part of body was making an abnormal snap, crackle, and pop sound when pressure was applied. This is a similar sound to someone cracking their knuckles, but when crepitus is noticed around the chest cavity it could indicate that air has made its way out of the airways into the surrounding soft tissue.
X-rays of her upper body revealed she was suffering from a collapsed lung. Unusually, the scans suggested that she had small tears in the lung that had caused air to escape in three places between the lung and the chest wall, into the chest cavity, and behind the pharynx (medically known as pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, and pneumoretropharyngeum).
The reason behind this unusual bunch of injuries was all too clear: “She reported a sudden onset of symptoms after forceful screaming at the 'One Direction' concert the night prior,” the case report reads. It appears that the excessive screaming, somehow, managed to traumatize her lungs, creating small tears through which air can escape. The doctors who treated the patient say it’s a first-of-its-kind case. While there have been a few cases of people collapsing a lung by screaming or shouting too forcefully, they say the combination of all three diagnoses from excessive vocalization has yet to be described in medical literature. Another world first for One Direction, I guess?
Back in 2019, however, there were reports of a 65-year-old man from Nanchang county in China suffered a collapsed lung after singing 10 high-pitched songs in a row at karaoke.