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Do inadequacies in ICD-10-AM activity coded data lead to underestimates of the population frequency of sports/leisure injuries?
  1. C F Finch1,2,
  2. S Boufous2
  1. 1
    School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Mt Helen, Australia
  2. 2
    NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre, Univeristy of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  1. Professor Caroline F Finch, School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences University of Ballarat, PO Box 663, Mt Helen, Australia; c.finch{at}


Aims: To assess the use of the International Classification of Diseases Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) activity sub-codes for identifying sports/leisure injury hospitalizations and the impact of missing codes on population incidence estimates.

Methods: Injury-related hospital separations in New South Wales, Australia, for the period 2003–04 were examined with sports/leisure cases identified by the ICD-10-AM activity codes.

Results: Over 30% of all injury hospitalizations had either a missing or unspecified activity code. Among cases with valid activity codes, 13.9% of all injury hospitalizations were associated with sports/leisure. When adjusted for underreporting associated with undefined or missing activity codes, sports/leisure injuries accounted for up to 20% of injury hospitalizations.

Conclusion: Defining sports/leisure injury cases on the basis of activity codes is likely to lead to an underestimate of their contribution to the overall injury burden. Improvements need to be made to the completeness of activity coding of hospitalization data.

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  • Funding: This project was funded by the NSW Sporting Injuries Committee (NSWSIC) under its Research and Injury Prevention Scheme. CFF was supported by an NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship. SB was supported by the NSWSIC Grant and the NSW Injury Risk Management Research Centre (IRMRC) Core Funding, which is provided by the NSW Department of Health, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority and the NSW Motor Accidents Authority. The hospitalizations data were accessed via the NSW Department of Health’s Health Outcomes Information Statistical Toolkit (HOIST), maintained by the Centre for Epidemiology and Research.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The use of the hospitalizations data was approved by the University of New South Wales Ethics Committee.