Exploring other options

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Sneak, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    I've been pursuing an appointment to USAFA, USNA, and USMA for a while now (in fact, my air force and Navy applications are 100% complete as of last week). Unfortunately, I'm going to be looking for a waiver for some (asymptomatic) thoracic scoliosis. I've started looking at other options for joining the military as I'm pretty much set on military service. I've applied to AF/NROTC, but those are abviously also dependent on DoDMERB and are their own waiver authorities.

    I'm considering doing something along the lines of enlisting USAF and going for PJ or trying to be a USGC rescue swimmer. I get that enlistment has different medical standards than dodmerb, but would scoliosis be a problem for those specific career fields? What about other special operations jobs?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but I couldn't really find a better place to put it.
     
  2. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    What is your degree of curvature?
     
  3. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Initial radiology reports put me at 37, but I've consulted Dodmerb Consultants (a service that reviews candidates in order to optimize admission/waiver chances). They said that the number may be more like 33 or 34 based on my x-rays and the fact that there is at least some subjectivity involved in the test.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    33 is a big number. 19 I would be with you, 37 no.

    Yes, it can change in the degree because if you breathe when the xray is taken it will impact the curvature. However, as I said earlier 37 is huge and 33 is not better. Typically it will require a brace when you are over 25 degrees.

    I can't see any branch saying that at that curvature you are good to go regarding jumping out of a perfectly good airplane and rescuing lives.

    Sorry, but that is mpo.

    If you are wondering...my sil has a metal rod in her back due to scoliosis. Her DD had surgery when she was 13. Bullet has scoliosis and had to go through remedial prior to commissioning for his FAA FC1 with less than 19.

    The only thing you can truly do is apply and get your medical records in order to prove why medically you should be waived.

    Have you worn a brace? Have you gone to a specialist?
     
  5. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Well as I said, it is completely asymptomatic and has never required treatment. Typically treatment such as a brace is not prescribed unless it is over 40 degrees. If it is under 40 it is not considered progressive. And according to dodmerb consultants, if it is under 35 it is waiverable for dodmerb, but that is just an estimation as it varies based on the doctor at the WA who reviews my file.

    I am most likely going to see a spinal specialist, who may analyze my growth plates to determine that I am not going to grow vertically any more (which we are pretty sure I won't, according to my pediatrician). This would mean that there is really no way that it can progress to vet worse.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Have to ask one question.
    Do you know how the DQ and waiver process works?

    DoDMERB DQs. Their job is to say yes, no, maybe (remedial) regarding the regulations set forth by the DoD.

    is WA to you = Waiver authority?
    If so you, know it is not just 1 doc that looks at your file and says...yep he is good to go. It is more like one doc says yes and it is now sent to a higher doc that says yes. that next doc now says yes and the waiver authority stamps YES
    ~ Hence why some wait as long as 6 months for a waver.

    Waivers are given by the commissioning source.
    ~ Not uncommon for USAFA or USMA to waive color deficiency vision when USNA says NO
    ~ USAFA may DQ for a medical aspect, but AFROTC may waive

    USAFA and AFROTC grads will commission at the same time, and will both go ADAF. However, USAFA and AFROTC cadets have different commissioning sources. AFROTC grads come out of HQ AFROTC,...that letter R means something.

    I wish you the very best. I know you want this dream, but the fact is the cliche SERVICE BEFORE SELF exists for a reason. It will never be about you regardless of how much you desire to serve. It will always be about the service

    I hate to truly say this, but unless your spinal specialist can drop that number to under 30, I just can't see you getting a waiver.
    ~ My greatest joy would be to eat crow pie...PM me so I can give you my address and a pic pf me eating it

    Sorry!

    PS I would look deeper into those DoDMERB consultants...were they flight docs? Are they charging a fee? How much? What branch did they serve?

    There are great consultants, but it is a business.

    OBTW, are you a candidate yet for the SAs yet?
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  7. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Thank you for the insight. I had previously thought that it was just one doctor at a waiver authority who may refer to a specialist if he/she needs to. I guess they just want an automatic second opinion on everybody.

    As far as not getting a waiver unless it's under 30, well 30 degrees is the cutoff point for a dodmerb DQ so unless you are saying they never give out scoliosis waivers then that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

    Dodmerb Consultants is run by the doctor who used to be running the show at dodmerb a few years ago. I believe he is USAF.

    And yes, as I said in my original post, I have already finished two of my academy applications and I'm almost done with USMA.
     
  8. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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  9. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Sorry for the late response...was visiting my ADAF DS

    Let's just go with the fact that it is 30 degrees. You have 33. IMMEDIATE DQ by DoDMERB because you are over 30.

    The minute you are Qd or DQd is the minute DoDMERB is out of the picture.
    DoDMERB has absolutely no impact on waivers.

    Let me repeat...DoDMERB exists only to q or dq. Commissioning sources grant waivers.
    ~IE USNA waives, and USAFA does not.
    ~~ Both have their own medical board that will review your records.

    Consultants are great because they know how to navigate the military medical system. They know the "key" words that they are looking for when they see your packet. If you can afford them, than use them.

    I am going to be honest. It does not appear that you want to fly a chair in the AF. If you are going to pay for the consultant tell them that you want to go special operations. Want to go AF, STO/CRO/PJ is insanely competitive. Rated, such as pilot or Nav will require an FAA FC1 flight physical. Ask if they will waive a 33 degree curve.
    ~ You probably have a better chance getting an F35 than 1 of those slots...sorry!
    ~~ F35 slot...think 1% out of UPT in 2017 will get it, and they probably graduated in 2015. Now understand that 16% of every applicant in 2011 got an apptmt. @1300. @900 commissioned in 2015. 500 got UPT. 400 wing out of UPT. 1% =4 out of that original 1300 class in 2011 that got an F35.

    I am not trying to be rude, mean, harsh or debbie downer. I am just saying that impo, with no medical background, just married to an ejection seat guy that jumped out of perfectly good airplanes as an ALO (not the USAFA ALO type. the 82nd AB ALO type) 33% degree is huge.

    Do I think you can be waived? Yes.
    Do I think they will allow you to jump out of perfectly good airplanes carrying a 70 lb rucksack and a shoot? Well...I am not willing to bet my kids on it. Do I think the AF or Navy will clear you for an ejection seat as a pilot or CSO/RIO with a 33 degree...again. I love my kids and would not bet on it.

    I think you should go for it, but I think before you go down this path tell the consultant your career desires.

    Too many kids think that this DoDMERB is the one and only. It isn't.
    ~ You will be required to take another DoDMERB prior to commissioning.

    Best wishes, hopes and thoughts
     
  11. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 Member

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    Also not a medical guy but want to make sure we're clear. BLUF: Only the qualifying agency (USMA/NA/AFA or A/N/AF ROTC can say if they'll grant waivers. I looked at the Army Regulation which states for Thoracic Scoliosis the cutoff is 30 degrees. That is different than lumbar which is 19. I know DODMERB will refer you for an X Ray and they'll base off that as well medical history and just the overall competitiveness of your packet. I can also tell you after 19 years of walking with rucks and doing things like airborne ops your body pays a price and you need to consider not how 17 year old you reacts but if you can pay that price over the long term. There are a lot of guys in the Special Operations and Combat Arms who are very talented but can't pay that price over the years due to injuries and won't make it to 20 despite talent and other factors. Biggest thing is if you have coaches who have seen you perform tasks which would impact your spine than have them provide statements and memos to go in a waiver packet and prepare that you won't know an answer until months.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 emwv

    This is really not just about where you stand now. It is about 5 yrs from now when you commission. 5 yrs later after you have 300 jumps under your belt.
    ~ See emwv's post about carrying a 70lb rucksack.

    Waiving you means they accept you have a pre-existing medical condition. If that condition worsens they will cover the costs. When you leave the military, and everyone eventually leaves, you will go through a medical exam again. If that condition did worsen because of your military career they will be on the hook financially for the rest of your life.
    ~ Bullet has tinitus in his ears because he flew fighters. Entered with perfect hearing at the age of 22. Left at 43. Part of his retirement paycheck is not taxable because he is considered disabled due to the hearing issue.

    Just reiterating what emwv has said. They know there will be wear and tear on your body. At 18 you already need a waiver. Flying a desk is one thing. Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes is another.

    The only thing you can do now is to get the scholarship, and go through the DoDMERB process. Get those medical records in order. If you were my kid, I would go see an ortho specialist that deals with scoliosis. If you breath during an xray your curvature can change from a degree aspect. The specialist can write on your records key points that may impact the waiver.
     
  13. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Ok so I just received some news that completely changes everything...

    We sent my x-rays to another radiologist for a second opinion. We just got word today that he has no idea how initial reports measured a 37-degree curvature. He measured 19 degrees. Apparently the first radiologist had simply slapped a protractor onto my images and did it by hand, whereas the more current method involves automatic measurements performed by a computer.

    Wow, this is a huge relief. It looks like I might have a shot after all...
     
    md403 and AROTC-dad like this.

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