Austin surgeons shocked by injuries protesters sustained by bean bag rounds

Surgeons in Austin released a detailed commentary revealing how shocked they were by how severe police bean bag round injuries were from protests a few months ago.

“When I first heard of a beanbag gun, you expect a hacky sack to be thrown kind of hard at you from, you know, across the room and you have like a bruise. This is way more like a just a regular shotgun than it was a beanbag,” said Dr. Jayson Aydelotte, Chief of Trauma Surgery at Dell Seton Medical Center.

Over a span of two days in late May, Dell Seton Medical Center treated 19 protesters with severe injuries.


“Some of them are penetrating injuries, some of them to the head, some of them to the soft tissues of the chest, some of them to the arms and legs, a number of different lacerations and bruises,” said Dr. Kris Olson, Surgical Resident at the University Of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School.

At first, doctors at Dell Seton say they had no idea what caused these injuries. They later discovered it was the result of beanbag rounds shot by Austin Police officers as a form of crowd control.

“Those injuries were severe, and penetrating injuries that we didn't anticipate seeing,” said Dr. Olson.

At the time, officers were using Defense-Technology 12 gauge beanbag rounds. The company's website claims each round has a velocity of 270 fps (184 mph) with a max range of 75 feet. 
“I would imagine when we're surprised by how destructive something is, I would imagine others are, too,” said Dr. Aydelotte.

Out of those 19 patients, there were multiple head injuries and facial fractures. Some patients retained bean bags in their wounds.

“Not one injury stood out over another one, just the fact that they were a whole lot more like regular shotgun ones than they were like a hacky sack is what surprised us,” said Dr. Aydelotte.

These doctors say there wasn't a ton of data that really showcased how dangerous these rounds are until now.


“We were just pretty surprised about how destructive these weapons really were and I hope that it makes people's minds open to be able to study it in the future,” said Dr. Aydelotte.

APD no longer uses bean bag rounds as a form of crowd control. 

The commentary explaining the types of injuries suffered by protesters treated at Dell Seton Medical Center can be found here.