Pokémon Go: ICD-10 is Ready for You

During the implementation of ICD-10 almost a year ago, ICD-10 coders poked fun at the many new diagnosis codes.  Did the World Health Organization (WHO), the producers of ICD-10, really think we would experience an influx of patients walking into lamp posts again and again?  Now, it seems ICD-10 is already prepared to capture injuries of the latest craze, Pokémon Go. 

Pokémon Go, a smart phone game, has acquired more than 30 million daily users since its launch less than two months ago.  Players are really getting into catching Pokémon characters in real-world locations.  But like your mama said, “it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.”  Players are so enthralled in capturing more Pokémon characters to get to the next level, they end up losing focus of their surroundings.  Even though the application displays warnings to pay attention, players are not heeding to the warnings during their Pokémon hunt, and unfortunately, some end up injured. 

But rest assured, ICD-10 is ahead of the game.  Here are some of the top ICD-10 codes assigned by HIM coders to capture these Pokémon Go injuries: 

  • W18.09XA      Striking against other object with subsequent fall, initial encounter

Lamp posts, trees, and mailboxes are in the neighborhoods and getting in the way of the Pokémon Go players. 

  • L55.0                 Sunburn of first degree

Pokémon Go is getting millions out of the house for long periods of times and the players may be forgetting to apply and reapply sunscreen. 

  • E86.0                   Dehydration

Time flies when the players are having fun.  In the heat of summer, players can play for hours on end and forget to drink fluids. 

  • V09.09XA           Pedestrian injured in nontraffic accident involving other motor vehicle, initial encounter

Pokémon characters may be found in the street, but players should not be tempted as they could run into a parked car. 

  • T23.152A            Burn of first degree of left palm, initial encounter 

Holding an overheating smart phone for 12 hours straight may allow the players to capture lots of Pokémon characters, but their palm may end up with a first degree burn. 

  • R53.83                  Other Fatigue - lack of energy, lethargy, tiredness

Hours and hours of chasing Pokémon characters can be fun, but players need to take a break. 

  • G56.01                  Carpal tunnel syndrome, right upper limb

Increased swiping, tapping, and tossing may result in aches and pains in the player’s wrist. Rest is needed before numbness leads the player to see a neurologist. 

  • Y04.0XXA              Assault by unarmed brawl or fight, initial encounter

As the game has swept the world, Pokémon Go players have fallen victims of crime. Players need to be smart and stay alert of their surroundings. 

  • S93.402A               Sprain of unspecified ligament of left ankle, initial encounter

Stepping in a hole when a person isn’t paying attention to where they are walking is never a good idea. Ankle pain may land Pokémon Go players in the emergency room.

  • Y93.C2                      Activity, hand held interactive electronic device

Pokémon Go players are using their smart phone when the injuries occur. ICD-10 has a code for that from category Y93, which indicates the activity of the injured patients seeking healthcare.    

As you can see, HIM coders’ jobs can be challenging, yet fun to keep up with the latest and greatest trends. Share some of your adventures in coding below!


Melissa Roth, RHIT, CCS, ICD-10 Trainer
Compliance Manager


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