Medical Issues - Please Help!

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by eagles60, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. eagles60

    eagles60 New Member

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    I am about to start my MSII year under a 3.5 year scholarship in army ROTC. I have suffered a lower back injury in the middle of my first semester, which has resulted in me doing very limited activity and doing profile PT all second semester. I wasn’t able to run, lift, do ab workouts, or pushups because they all hurt my back, to the point where I had to take the elevator to get to my dorm room. I’ve gone to 3 orthopedic surgeons and had two courses of PT in the past 10 months, with no results. (It is important to mention that I’ve had a history of back injuries prior to joining ROTC and was at first medically disqualified from ROTC due to spondylolysis but obtained a waiver from DoDMERB). When I left school after my MSI year, the doctor I was seeing at the time wrote a note to my cadre saying that they couldn’t find anything to diagnose or treat my back. Because of this I could return to activity despite the pain.

    I just recently went to a back and spine doctor who gave me two separate steroid injections, which helped very little. I’m still not able to run without severe pain and have been told by therapists, to hold off from running for the time being. The problem is that this is what I’ve been told to do for the past 10 months. My injury has not improved over the course of the 10 months and I begin to wonder if it will anytime soon, especially since I’ve now seen 3 orthopedic surgeons, one back and spine specialist and two therapists.

    I am about to head back for first semester of my MSII year and have many doubts in my ability to be physically capable of participating in ROTC. I fear that once I go back and tell my cadre about the treatment I’ve received over the summer I will be medically disenrolled because of the injury but also because of my prior back injury history.


    -Would I have to reimburse the army if I was medically discharged?

    -Is it even worth it to go back if I am more than likely going to be medically disenrolled from ROTC?
     
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I'm very sorry to hear about your back issues.

    To answer you biggest question, No, you would not be liable for any payback of your scholarship if you are medically disenrolled.

    As far as whether to start up with ROTC this Fall, only you can answer that question based on how your back feels and whether you can participate. The best you can do now is to contact your cadre and let them know your situation, they will be able to advise you. If you think you back will get better after a while they may have you start again this fall and see how you progress, again, only you and your doctors will be able to make that determination.
     
  3. Future2LtMom

    Future2LtMom Member

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    Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but I'm curious about your comment. I was under the impression that if you were unable to continue ROTC (whether it was due to lack of performance, injury, cadet changing their mind, or pretty much any other reason), that the money had to be paid back. Will OP not have to pay it back because they are in their freshman year, or is it because of the medical disqualification (regardless of what year they're in)? Is there an Army document/form/publication that goes over the ROTC "rules" for scholarship recipients that you could refer me to? DS purposefully left high-cost private & out-of-state schools off his list so we wouldn't be on the hook for repaying scholarship funds if he were to be disenrolled for something outside his control (I.e. medical issues). We may need to reconsider that stance.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I know several that were medically DQ'd, and did not have to pay it back. However, I think the circumstances behind the DQ were why they didn't have to pay back.

    They were injured during training.

    I would think that if they were injured during a frat football game or jumping the stairwell rails to beat their friends downstairs, than that would be a different story and they could come after the money if they were past their 1st yr. since they took the undue risk.
     
  5. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    So where does a car accident or something like that fall in? If I had a car accident that medically DQ'd me, it wasn't in training, but I didn't necessarily take an "undue risk" either.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I believe what occurs for every medical DQ that would cause a dis-enrollment goes through an HQ board. HQ makes the decision regarding payback, be it financial or enlistment. Some medical issues believe it or not are waiverable at the enlistment level, but not officer. They can decide to waive the cost of the scholarship.
     
  7. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    1) -Would I have to reimburse the army if I was medically discharged?
    I don't think anybody on this forum can give you a accurate answer on this. It is like medical waivers in that it needs to go through the process.

    -Is it even worth it to go back if I am more than likely going to be medically disenrolled from ROTC?
    There is no disadvantage to you talking to your cadre to get options. You have a very good scholarship in hand right now. Please do not let this oppurtunity slip through your fingers because you did not take the oppurtunity to discuss your options with your cadre.

    Best of luck moving forward.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    1000% agree with sheriff.

    As a parent, my bigger concern for the OP is medical. There is some underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed.
     
  9. Packer

    Packer Member

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    You are getting good advice. Talk to your cadre!

    That said, they gave you a waiver which means they knew they were taking a calculated risk with regards to your back. I think it is highly unlikely they would require you to pay back the scholarship over this. IMPO.
     
  10. JMS

    JMS Member

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    The OP said he was on a 3.5 yr scholarship and was anticipating the start of his 2nd year. I believe that means he has not received very much if any ROTC $.
    And, as usual, Pima is is spot on regards getting to the fundamental problem.
    Eagle, I know your situation is both a big disappointment and and a fearful thing going forward. I wish you well and am launching a few prayers in your general direction.
    I suggest if one were to sort the priorities here (reimbursement or not) it should be your back first, your education second and the Army a distant 3rd.
     
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    As of right now, since you have not started your sophomore year with ROTC, you would not be required to payback anything even if you just decided to leave the program.

    The best thing to do is to talk with your cadre before the first day of school and go over your options. Ask them about medical disenrollement and how your situation would effect the scholarship and payback.

    I agree with Packer, your situation is unique in the fact that CC granted you a waiver for your condition which has not gotten worse. Even if you start your sophomore year I doubt very much you would be required to payback the scholarship should you be medically disenrolled.
     
  12. eagles60

    eagles60 New Member

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    Thank you so much to everyone responding to my post, especially for responding so fast!!!

    I'm currently drafting a letter to my cadre as I write this post. I've summarized my treatment for the last 10 months and have obtained a letter from my current doctor. It includes future treatment and the level of physical activity I can currently do.

    Thanks again everybody for giving great advice!
     
  13. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    This is one of those reminders to READ THE CONTRACT that you signed when you accepted the Scholarship last year. You should have a copy of it. If you don't, here is a copy that is probably current:

    http://www.missouristate.edu/assets/milcsi/DA597_3_Scholarship_Cadet_Contract.pdf

    Go to Section 3c(1) where it states your Scholarship repayment obligation begins after "the first day of your MSII year". You haven't started your MSII year yet. However, the first day you report to your duty station, which would be the first ROTC official activity upon your return, you have started into your MSII year. Make sure you do NOT do anything official until you have it clear from your Cadre whether you will incur a repayment obligation if you TRY to fulfill your ROTC commitment, but it becomes clear a month or two or three into MSII year that you medically cannot do it.

    You have to weight your benefits against your risks at this time. What is the chance that you will recover and continue on to successfully commission? 10%? 30%? 75%?

    If you think the chances are 50/50 of healing up and successfully commissioning, with Tuition, Books and Stipend along the way, then you have to weigh that possible benefit against the possible loss of the Tuition, Books and Stipend you collected your 2nd Semester of MSI year, and anything you collect during your 1st Semester of MSII year. Let's call that $20,000, not knowing anything about the cost of Tuition at your school.

    So, is the $20,000 possible loss (if you don't heal up) less important to you than the possible reward of healing up and continuing on to Commission, with tuition/books/stipend paid along the way?

    If you simply cannot afford the payback, then maybe you shouldn't take the risk of starting MSII year. If you can manage to repay it, maybe you should take that risk, since the possible reward is so high.

    There are many sophisticated types of mathematics that help decide what risks are worth it, and which are not.

    Here is a simple one:

    - Chance (%) of you healing up and Commissioning (let's say that is 30%)
    - Value to you of healing up and Commissioning (e.g $50,000 Scholarship money, plus a Commission. Let's say that is worth $200,000 to you on a Tuition plus career enhancement basis)

    So, the Expected Gain is 30% x $200,000, or $60,000.

    Penalty, or Loss, you will incur if you have to repay your obligation in Nov., 2013: (Let's say $20,000)

    So, the Expected Loss is 70% (the chance you will not sufficiently heal and Commission) x $20,000, or $14,000.

    Which is larger, your Expected Gain of $60,000, or your Expected Loss of $14,000? If the odds are as I hypothesized above, the smart money is on you trying to heal up during your MSII year, assuming your Cadre allows that. The Expected Value of this scenario in which you attempt to heal up during MSII year, in a business sense, is $60,000 - $14,000, or +$46,000.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  14. eagles60

    eagles60 New Member

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    I have talked to my cadre about my current situation and they all agreed that it would be best to part with the ROTC program and take my time to heal my injuries. They encouraged me to fill out a 167-R form rather than apply for disenrollement. Because I am under a 3-year scholarship that was bumped up to a 3.5-year scholarship, I am considered a 4-year scholarship winner. They explained that because of this, I am able to sign the 167-R (Scholarship Acceptance/Declination Statement) without having to reimburse the army with money or service.

    In addition, they signed a Developmental Counseling Form that discussed and listed which army regulations specify that:
    1. I am considered an MSI still because I haven't started MSII year yet.
    2. Because I'm an MSI, I do not have to reimburse the army.

    I was wondering if this means that I'm 100% clear of anymore obligations to the army?
     
  15. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    That should be the case, as long as you sign and turn in the paperwork before classes begin. The form allows you to formally decline the scholarship which is what your obligation would be tied to.
     
  16. JMS

    JMS Member

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    You have a difficult spot but have handled it well and, I feel, made a good decision. Now, take care of that back and don't be late to class! ;-)
     
  17. eagles60

    eagles60 New Member

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    Thanks again to everyone who helped guide me to make a very difficult decision. It would have been much harder if not for your help! I appreciate your guidance!
     
  18. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Best of luck to you. Hope your back heals up soon!

    And your ROTC friends are still your friends!
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I second that, as are your friends here. Don't disappear here. You certainly have things to offer the community.
     

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