Disqualification - Waiver for Shoulder

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by ctownsailor, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. ctownsailor

    ctownsailor New Member

    Dec 30, 2013
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    My first post.
    My son has recently received a nomination to West Point. He has been dreaming of attending either West Point or the Naval Academy for many years and has worked extremely hard to put himself in a compettive position to get there. He has also stressed about the possibility that he might not make it. Unfortunately earlier this year he dislocated his shoulder. His MRI showed a small tear in the back (labral) and the doctor's guidance was to follow a course of physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder in hopes it will minimize any recurrence. We also understand that surgery is an option, but the doctor stated that the tear was so small and the fact that it is in the back of the shoulder that he thought the PT was the way to go.
    He still has full range of motion and does not appear to have any limitations. He plays football and lacrosse and has chosen to skip wrestling this year to concentrate on the physical therapy. During a football game, the shoulder did pop out again, but he was able to get it straight himself.
    We have scheduled an appointment next week with the best shoulder doc we can find in our area for a second opinion.
    If surgery is the way to keep this from recurring we would like to encourage him to get it done as soon as possible to decrease any possiblity or a recurring problem. My son is concerned that the surgery might disqualify him from receiving an appointment; and that would be devastating to him.
    We are looking for guidance. Is there any possibility of receiving a waiver for similar conditions? If so, what is the process? We would appreciate any thoughts.
  2. BrinleyM

    BrinleyM New Member

    Dec 1, 2013
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    I actually had the exact same thing happen to me. I was selected to attend NASS over the summer and actually dislocated my shoulder while I was there. I tore my labrum and decided to have the surgery done right away. Its about a three month recovery time, and now I have no limitations.

    Any history of dislocation, subluxation, or instability is an automatic disqualification through DoDMERB, so whether he has the surgery or not he will likely be DQed. The way I understand it is that if he is competitive for an appointment he will be automatically considered for a waiver. I personally am thankful that I went through with the surgery. My shoulder now feels stronger than ever. I understand how nerve-wracking it is to make the decision, but I don't regret mine. Everyone that I have talked to has said that I am likely to receive a waiver for my shoulder, so I believe that your son has a good chance as well.

    Good luck! :smile:
  3. 18mamag

    18mamag Member

    Sep 6, 2013
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    Our DD received a waiver for her shoulder for 'multi-directional instability.' We had to get all the records of PT, MRI's and a doctors note stating no physical limitations. She too is an athlete who has to do daily strengthening
    Exercises for her shoulder. We got this done during the shut down. It was a lot of work and very stressful, but USNA did give a waiver. USMA did not.
    I think the key is the 'no physical limitations.'

    Best of luck to you, I hope your waiver comes through!
  4. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

    Dec 6, 2011
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    I think you'll find that surgery is the only way other than never raising his arm above his shoulder. Each time it happens the likelihood of recurrence increases. My third and last time was while waterskiing--a simple normal fall on a cut.

    That was almost forty years ago. Fortunately, the Ortho was a sports surgeon (before there were any sports surgeons) and an early developer of a pinless repair. For the last almost 40 years I have had total mobility and confidence. On Saturday, I did 160 pushups during a one hour P90X type workout. I can only imagine that the technique has improved. DS will probably not have a 6 inch scar like I have.

    Get the surgery! Can't imagine getting a waiver without it.
  5. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

    May 1, 2013
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    My DS had a similar injury three years ago. We are currently awaiting word (with prayer) of a waiver from AFA.
    DS went the physical therapy route for his labral tear. When he really committed to the exercises it made a big difference in the tightness in the shoulder. He thankfully hasn't had a recurrence of instability or a subluxation in 2.5yrs. He is a varsity swimmer.
    Hopefully you have a good ortho doctor advising you. I know many have had great success with surgery and we would have pursued it if pt was not successful.

    Hoping to hear on DS's waiver soon. We'll keep you posted.

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  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    A few issues for the OP.

    First, can your DS get a waiver without the surgery? My guess (and I'm NOT a medical professional) is that, if his shoulder pops out fairly readily, that could be an issue. If he doesn't have full range of motion, that would be an issue.

    Second, can your DS get a waiver having had the surgery? Presumably, if it's successful, he can. However, he would need an indication from the MD that he's "fine" -- full activities without limits -- and the SAs may require a certain time after surgeries before they will even consider reviewing the medical data (the time obviously depends on the surgery).

    If your DS is a senior, it could be a challenge b/c it's already January and, if he has surgery, he would need the surgery and recovery to be complete prior to R-Day. Only an MD can tell you if there's enough time for that. There is always an opportunity to proceed next year; if he's appointment material this year, likely nothing will change by next year.

    Has he had his DODMERB physical yet? That is obviously determinative.

    At the end of the day, the most important thing is your DS's health. Thus, I would proceed with what is best for him and then see how things work out from a SA standpoint. Good luck to you!

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