Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Coding OSICS sports injury diagnoses in epidemiological studies: does the background of the coder matter?
  1. Caroline F Finch1,
  2. John W Orchard2,
  3. Dara M Twomey3,
  4. Muhammad Saad Saleem4,
  5. Christina L Ekegren1,
  6. David G Lloyd5,6,
  7. Bruce C Elliott5
  1. 1Australian Centre for Research into Sports Injury and its Prevention (ACRISP), Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI), Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3School of Health Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4School of Science, Information Technology and Engineering, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  6. 6Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Caroline F Finch, Australian Centre for Research into Sports Injury and its Prevention (ACRISP), Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI), Building 70, Monash University Clayton Campus, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia; caroline.finch{at}


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.

  • Epidemiology
  • Measurement
  • Sporting injuries

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.