The Fencing Response

“You go out; your hands go up.”

I found this video a few months ago and tracked down the researcher, Dr. Hosseini, who had an student who loved youtube collect these clips.  Dr. Hosseini wishes to have this information out into the public but he is not a marketer and has other projects which is currently working on in his research.  He has given me permission to share the video and the following links.

The fencing response is an unnatural position of the arms following a concussion. Immediately after moderate forces have been applied to the brainstem, the forearms are held flexed or extended (typically into the air) for a period lasting up to several seconds after the impact. The Fencing Response is often observed during athletic competition involving contact, such as football, hockey, rugby, boxing and martial arts. It is used as an overt indicator of injury force magnitude and midbrain localization to aid in injury identification and classification for events including, but not limited to, on-field and/or bystander observations of sports-related head injuries.

For more information, please visit: or google search “fencing response”

Source: Hosseini, A. H., and J. Lifshitz. Brain Injury Forces of Moderate Magnitude Elicit the Fencing Response. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 41, No. 9, pp. 1687–1697, 2009.

Audio: Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation)

This video is intended for educational purposes. It aims to broaden public awareness of traumatic brain injuries as well as physical indicators of such head injuries, especially with respect to those occurring with high-contact sports. All clips were gathered from the YouTube public domain.


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