Posted in ICD-10 & Coding

Football injury study may show limits of ICD-10 data

In November, we looked at a study of concussions in Texas youth sports. Observers were at games played by grades 7-12 and recorded injuries.

A similar study compared flag football and tackle football injuries in grades 2-7.  This one produced a rather sensational headline that said injury rates were higher in flag football than in tackle football. This would be a good time to consider sample size since the study involved 3,525 tackle football players and 269 flag football players. The study also concluded:

There was not significant differences between severe injuries and concussions between the two leagues.

  • Concussions were more likely during games than practice.
  • Players in the sixth or seventh grade were more likely to suffer a concussion than were younger players.
  • Concussions were more likely in 6-7 grade players.

There are many concerns about the data, but it's enough to show that any assumptions should be tested. 

The authors also worried that parents of flag football players may be more focused on safety and were more likely to report injuries. That dynamic could skew ICD-10 data on sports injuries. If tackle football parents are less concerned about safety or injuries, would they be less likely to seek medical attention for their children?

If that has any validity, that could lead ICD-10 data to show "safer" sports with higher injury rates.