[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/childhoodbraindamage-oots_983.png]]]]

->'''Kitty:''' What is wrong with you?! Were you dropped on your head?!\\
'''Kelso:''' Yes! I WAS! And up until now, everyone had the good grace not to mention it!
-->-- ''Series/That70sShow''

A explanation for a character's eccentricity, ditziness, lack of intelligence, brashness, etc is for them (or others) to harm their head as a infant or a child. A possible cause of this trope could be that they were accidentally dropped by their AlcoholicParent, who had a little too much to drink. In some cases, they were actually pretty intelligent before the incident happened. One variation of this trope is that the character's mental deficiencies are not from a head injury but by them ingesting something harmful and toxic such as paint chips or [[OneDrinkWillKillTheBaby alcohol]]. Another is that the brain damage was due to the character being deprived of something that's essential or substantial to having a relatively healthy body.

If this trope is PlayedForLaughs, a character may jokingly or cheerily suggest to the others that a daft moment that another character (who usually has no disabilities and is mostly functional otherwise) just had was due to them injuring their head in their childhood. However, if it's PlayedForDrama and the character genuinely had head trauma in the past, it's used as a indication that the character was abused as a child or had a very dysfunctional childhood (they may also have a head deformity because of it).

Related to EasyAmnesia, TapOnTheHead, HardHead, CirclingBirdies.

A classic example of a HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', when Goku was a baby he was just as violent as all Saiyans are, until he hit his head and became the kind-hearted hero we know and love.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* A variation of the trope occurs with Martin Soap from ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'': We see the nurse dropping him on his head just after being born, but he doesn't end up with any mental handicap for it (it's just there to [[ButtMonkey show the crap life shoves on him]] started very early and never let up).
* ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} of the ''Comicbook/XMen'' suffered brain damage when he was a child after being pushed out an airplane with his brother (Havok) with only one parachute. Besides amnesia, the part of his brain that would have regulated his optic blasts was damaged, causing them to be "on" all the time. The blasts are only controlled by his ruby quartz visor and his eyelids.
* Obelix in ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' got his SuperStrength from falling in a cauldron of magic potion when he was small. Although it gives him a useful power, it's played as this trope, and there's several implications that it permanently altered his personality into the sweet, childlike attitude we see - for instance, when reverted to childhood by magic, he loses his power and becomes serious, deep-thinking and quite grumpy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In a number of ''Manga/AxisPowersHetalia'' fanfictions, such as ''FanFic/TheHearthSeries'', it's revealed that Germany can't remember his childhood as the Holy Roman Empire because of injuries. Given that the series has Holy Roman Empire going to ''war'' before his "death", it's not that big of a leap.
* This played with in the FanFic/Gensokyo20XX series with Reimu and Chen. In Reimu's case, this is a variant and a subversion in that, aside from being age-regressed, she technically isn't a child but this trope comes into play when she eats rat poison in 20XXV, the effect of which leaves her near-blind and a heavy sleeper, though her intelligence remains intact, then again, in 20XXII, she was injected with sedatives every few hours for screaming, so that may have also had an effect on her that either faded with time or wasn't so apparent until now. In Chen's case, she was brain damaged as a result of her suicide attempt by drowning during the events of 20XXIV, which left her unable to talk. This explains her speech impediments that we see during 20XXV.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/TheGoonies'', it's implied that Sloth's deformity was caused by being dropped as a baby. When Ma Fratelli tries to calm him down by singing "Rock-a-bye Baby", Sloth reacts to the line "the baby will fall" as if it has unearthed RepressedMemories, precipitating his HeelFaceTurn.
* ''Film/ShadowOfADoubt'': The film implies that a brain injury suffered when he was hit by a car as a child is what caused Uncle Charlie's "[[SerialKiller problem]]".
* A RunningGag in the Creator/ChrisFarley movie ''TommyBoy'' has people ask [[ManChild his character]] if he ate paint chips (or lived near powerlines) as a child.
* In ''Film/BioDome'', there's a scene where one of the dumbasses' mothers is holding the other's head under water to teach them how to hold their breath for long periods of time.
* In ''HappyFeet'', the fact that the penguin Mumble's egg was dropped by his father is the main reason he can't sing, and the film does everything it can to compare it to this trope without actually saying it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Folklore]]
* A Russian folk parody of an old Soviet song says: "Our youth threw us onto campaigns with sabers, our momma dropped us head-down on ice, and if our momma didn't drop us head-down on ice, no campaign with sabers would be possible". Original Russian: "Нас бросала молодость в сабельный поход, нас роняла мамочка головой об лед, кабы не роняли нас головой об лед, то не состоялся бы сабельный поход".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'', it's rumoured that Bernard Marx's eccentricities are caused by an excess of alcohol in his blood-surrogate while he was being [[DesignerBabies grown]].
* In ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen'', George tells the ranch owner that Lennie was kicked in the head by a horse as a child to explain why he's mentally slow. Lennie has to ask George about it afterwards as he doesn't know whether it's true or not - George then says it's not true.
* In ''Literature/TheGrapesOfWrath'', Pa Joad blames himself for his son Noah's slowness as he tried to deliver him on his own, and ended up distorting his head.
* PlayedForLaughs at one point in the ''{{Malloreon}}'', when Garion comments that maybe his tendency to charge into dangerous situations without thinking about the danger is because his Aunt Pol dropped him on his head as a baby.
* The Soviet book ''Literature/KingdomOfCrookedMirrors'' briefly features a character who was dropped on his head as a child. Since then, he can only count to three.
* In ''Literature/TheElenium'', the main characters meet a secondary, clearly handicapped character who was hit on the head when young by a cow.
* In ''{{Literature/Horns}}'', [[spoiler:It is heavily implied to be the reason why Lee Tourneau is a remorseless psychopath.]]
* In the ''{{Literature/Emily of New Moon}}'' trilogy, Emily's Cousin Jimmy is "simple," due to her Aunt Elizabeth causing him to fall into the well when they were children.
* In ''Literature/BattleRoyale'', Kazuo Kiriyama is emotionless due to brain damage he sustained at a very young age. [[spoiler:In the manga, being shot in the head restores his ability to feel right before he dies.]]
* In ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'', Liu Shan is renowned as an inadequate successor to Liu Bei, with his childhood nickname "Adou" becoming a Chinese byword for someone utterly useless. This is probably because his father had ''dashed his infant son to the ground'' in anger that his general Zhao Yun had risked his life to rescue the kid, saying, "[b]rothers are as hands and feet; wives and children are as clothing. You may mend your torn dress, but who can reattach a lost limb?"
* Angela's brother and Frank's uncle Pat in ''Literature/AngelasAshes'', who is slow-minded and is said to have been "dropped on the head" as a baby.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/KenanAndKel'', Kenan once implies that Kel's lack of common sense (and otherwise intelligence) was the result of him being dropped on his head as a child.
* ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'' has a slight variation, when Will asks Carlton if he was deprived of oxygen.
* ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' had a flashback in which Kelly (TheDitz) was shown to be very intelligent as a young girl, until she hit her head during a car ride.
* In ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'', Dewey's odd behavior is apparently the result of Lois standing in front of a microwave oven while she was pregnant with him.
* ''Series/That70sShow'', Kitty asks Kelso (aka TheDitz) if he was dropped on his head, as seen in the above quote.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'': Jim Davis opens the comic's 20th anniversary book by claiming, "I was born July 28, 1945, in Marion, Indiana, and was promptly dropped on my head - [[SelfDeprecation which explains my lifelong desire to become a cartoonist.]]"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''Theatre/TheLightInThePiazza'', Margaret reveals that the reason for her daughter Clara's childlike behavior is [[spoiler:that she was kicked in the head by a pony, causing her to fall and hit her head. This left her essentially stuck mentally at the age of 12, even though she's now 26.]] This is why Margaret and her husband oppose her marrying Fabrizio [[spoiler: though Margaret comes around at the end of the show without telling Roy]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The remake of ''VideoGame/{{Ducktales}}'' has Scrooge ponder this of Launchpad in the Amazon level.
-->'''Scrooge:''' Launchpad, were you dropped on your head much as a child?
-->'''Launchpad:''' All the time! Why?
* PlayedForDrama in ''VideoGame/TheLongestJourney'': April's dad was drunk and dropped her when he held her as a baby for the first time, causing a serious cranial trauma that took several years to heal, during which she couldn't walk or speak. Although she eventually grew up normal (as normal as [[spoiler:a half-dragon Shifter can be]], anyway), her father's repressed guilt over the incident resulted in her very strained relationship with him and eventually led to her running away from home before the start of the game.
* At one point during ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2'', should a male CHARNAME make the mistake of saying that he "doesn't rightly know" where to go next with Jaheira during a very bad time for her, she will accuse him of sounding like he'd been dropped on his head as a child. Or kicked.
* This is eventually revealed to be the source of Marumu's [[EmotionlessGirl emotionless]] CloudCuckooLander tendencies in ''Heart De Roomate'', the result of a fall off a small cliff some years before. Not quite PlayedForDrama, though, since this is revealed by her brother, who not only explains that she's been in therapy in the meantime, but also thanks Yusuke for helping her along (since their relationship escalated, she's been showing more signs of improvement).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'': Black Mage asks [[GeniusDitz Fighter]] whether he was dropped on his head a lot as a child, to which Fighter answers, "Maybe..." This is immediately followed by a flashback to Fighter's childhood, with young Fighter exclaiming how happy he is to have power lines in his back yard and plenty of paint chips to eat.
* A flashback in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' explains Elan being TheDitz as a result of his brother [[EvilTwin Nale]] continually {{Dope Slap}}ping him when they were babies, as seen in the page picture.
* ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'': Buwaro's frequent blows to the head (fail rock catches) might go some way to explain his lack of intelligence, but there are factors, such as damage to his egg before birth and being left alone for long periods of time.
* In ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'', when Mega Man [[spoiler:actually Helmut in disguise]] continues talking about his evil plan even though Roll is [[RightBehindMe right behind him]], she asks if he ate paint chips as a child. He states that it's very possible.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Videos]]
* ''WebVideo/TwoBestFriendsPlay:'' In one episode, Matt's being more of a ditz than usual, so Pat asks him whether he [Matt] ate paint as a child. Matt immediately answers, "You mean wall candy?"
* In ''[[WebVideo/DragonballAbridged Dragonball Z Abridged]]'', like his canon counterpart, Goku fell on a rock head-first when he was still a child. And he's noticeably more ditzy and absent-minded than his canonical self.
* In ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'', Rainbow Dash is aggressively stupid. The episode "Pinkie's Day In" gives a possible explanation:
-->'''Mrs. Cake:''' You're not supposed to throw babies. \\
'''Rainbow Dash:''' Seriously? My second foster parents used to throw me all the time! \\
'''Mrs. Cake:''' That explains so much that I didn't care about.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AllGrownUp'', the sequel to ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'', mentions that Dil is so strange because Phil and Lil dropped him on his head when they were babies.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'', Mordecai and Rigby travel back in time and meet young Pops, acting lucid and sane, unlike the CloudCuckooLander he is in the present. Later during a car chase, they hit Pops, who then starts giggling like present-day Pops.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' reveals that Homer is an idiot because he stuck a crayon up his nose as a child and got it jammed into his brain.
** In "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie", he told Bart when he was a kid we wanted a bike but his dad wouldn't let him. So he tries holding his breath so his dad would give in. But he passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital, where the doctors say he has suffered brain damage.
-->'''Bart:''' Dad, what's the point of this story?\\
'''Homer:''' I like stories.
** A flashback also shows Ralph Wiggum being held by his father as a baby sucking on a bottle when his father accidentally drops him, and afterwards Ralph is no longer able to find the bottle with his mouth.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob SquarePants}}'', it is often suggested that Patrick's stupidity is the result of frequent head injuries. In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", Patrick mentions that he knows a lot about head injuries, then spaces out mid sentence. In "Big Pink Loser", [=SpongeBob=] tries to discourage Patrick from mimicing him by hitting himself with a hammer, to which Patrick responds, "I've been doing this way before I started copying you."
** Squidward once asked Spongebob if he was dropped on his head as a baby. Spongebob confirms it and is amazed at how Squidward found out.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheBeatles'', [[JohnLennon John]] sews the money from last night's concert into [[RingoStarr Ringo]]'s pocket to keep it from getting lost.
--> '''John:''' There! Safe as in a mother's arms.
--> '''Ringo:''' [[TheDitz Me mother dropped me once]].
--> '''John:''' I know. That's why I didn't sew it in your hat.
[[/folder]]
----