Being king-hit: There is nothing “royal” about it

Following on from Monday’s blog re: glassing and mugging, today I would like to comment on another behaviour of concern for injury prevention: the king-hit. The king-hit has featured widely in recent Australian media, with newspaper coverage of the court trial of a young man accused of king-hitting a tourist in our nation’s capital emerging just four hours ago (

Whilst the actual king-hit can break bones such as the jaw bone, the cheek bone and eye socket, the most alarming damage is to the brain. Not only can the brain be twisted suddenly in the skull at the time of impact, the victim is usually knocked out by the punch and their fall is not softened by outstretched arms and their head impacts heavily on the ground. The result can be a fractured skull and causing widespread brain damage.

I tried to find statistics regarding the prevalence/characteristics/outcomes of king-hit violence, and have been unable to do so. I also tried to find peer-reviewed literature regarding king-hit incidences and injuries, however I am still searching. Perhaps the injury mechanism has different nomenclature in other jurisdictions? Therefore I glanced over other coverage of king-hit incidences in our media (and I would encourage readers to feel equally-outraged againts the light sentence against a troubled young man convicted after the death of his king-hit victim: and identified a variety of factors which appear to play a role in this particularly violent behaviour:

* the perpetrator is male;

* the perpetrator is ‘violent’, ‘angry’, or ‘aggressive’;

* the perpetrator is younger;

* the victim is unknown to the perpetrator;

* the assault is unprovoked;

* the perpetrator flees the scene; and

* alcohol is usually involved, particularly for the perpetrator.

These trends highlight the importance of neurocognitive and psychosocial maturation, alcohol, and a perceived anonymity in the behaviour which impacts greatly upon another person. I am sure readers will agree that there is nothing royal about the king-hit!


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