Injury potential of one-litre beer steins

Abstract

Injuries resulting from blows with beer steins are a frequent occurrence during annual autumn fairs or at beer halls in South Germany and Austria. The majority of these cases are tried in court and thus being assessed by a forensic medicine expert. The article at hand gives a short overview on the injury potential of one-litre beer steins and explains the key variables to consider when analyzing beer stein injuries. On the basis of representative cases, which were assessed by specialists from the Institute of Legal Medicine of the Munich University over the last 5 years, the main biomechanical aspects and resulting injuries of one-litre beer stein assaults are discussed. Several severe and potentially life-threatening injuries have been observed after an assault with a one-litre beer stein. There is a discrepancy between the mechanical stability of brand new and used steins and the corresponding injuries, which can be explained by a decrease in impact tolerance of the steins with their use. In general, a blow with a one-litre glass or stonework beer stein to the head can cause severe and even life-threatening blunt as well as sharp trauma injuries.

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Adamec, J., Dorfner, P., Graw, M. et al. Injury potential of one-litre beer steins. Int J Legal Med 133, 1075–1081 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-018-1803-y

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Keywords

  • Beer stein
  • Head injury
  • Assault
  • Blunt force