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timing belt

Can anyone provide an authoritative answer to the effects of a broken 
timing belt on an 87 5kcstq?  I always understood that engine damage 
would result due to collision between valves and pistons in this engine.  
However, I have recently read literature which suggests otherwise with 
respect to VW/Audi gas (not diesel) engines.  I'm no mechanic, so those 
of you who consider this simplistic please forgive me!  Also, the issue 
is academic at this point since I replaced mine prior to breakage only 
10k miles ago or so.  Just wanted to resolve the issue!

87 5KCSTQ 146k+ miles