Coding OSICS sports injury diagnoses in epidemiological studies: does the background of the coder matter?

C.F. Finch, J.W. Orchard, D.M. Twomey, M.S. Saleem, C.L. Ekegren, David Lloyd, Bruce Elliott

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective To compare Orchard Sports Injury Classification System (OSICS-10) sports medicine diagnoses assigned by a clinical and non-clinical coder.

    Design Assessment of intercoder agreement.

    Setting Community Australian football.

    Participants 1082 standardised injury surveillance records.

    Main outcome measurements Direct comparison of the four-character hierarchical OSICS-10 codes assigned by two independent coders (a sports physician and an epidemiologist). Adjudication by a third coder (biomechanist).

    Results The coders agreed on the first character 95% of the time and on the first two characters 86% of the time. They assigned the same four-digit OSICS-10 code for only 46% of the 1082 injuries. The majority of disagreements occurred for the third character; 85% were because one coder assigned a non-specific ‘X’ code. The sports physician code was deemed correct in 53% of cases and the epidemiologist in 44%. Reasons for disagreement included the physician not using all of the collected information and the epidemiologist lacking specific anatomical knowledge.

    Conclusions Sports injury research requires accurate identification and classification of specific injuries and this study found an overall high level of agreement in coding according to OSICS-10. The fact that the majority of the disagreements occurred for the third OSICS character highlights the fact that increasing complexity and diagnostic specificity in injury coding can result in a loss of reliability and demands a high level of anatomical knowledge. Injury report form details need to reflect this level of complexity and data management teams need to include a broad range of expertise.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5pp
    JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
    VolumeIn Press
    Early online date23 Aug 2012
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


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