Medical minefield...Who knew?

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by ColtDad, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. ColtDad

    ColtDad Member

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    Perhaps I am alone on this, but am I the only one here who was caught totally unaware by the exceedingly tight medical requirements necessary to persue admittance to a service academy?

    My family does not live in an area with heavy military presence and we do not have much in the way of a recent military background. Perhaps those exposed to that environment would know this information, but how in God's green earth did the requirement of absolute physical perfection escape us through this entire process?!!!

    In all the literature we received from the USNA and studied cover to cover, I cannot find any warnings where early childhood ailments would likely be a huge issue. Zip, zilch, zero. Somehow that little detail that apparently takes out hundreds of applicants every year was overlooked.

    How did we miss that?

    In a trip to an admissions forum at the USNA, with speeches by admissions personell and later in discussions with those same individuals...nobody happend to mention that any one of literally hundreds of ailments and afflictions are the death knell of many a hopeful student.

    How could that happen?

    In Sue Ross's excellent handbook "The Naval Academy Candidate Book" which we purchased and the whole family read cover to cover, not one word addressed the medical minefield. Somewhere she should have mentioned that if you have so much as a patch of psoriasis on you buttocks you are SOL!

    Did she just forget?

    Nothing in interviews with the BGO. Nothing during three seperate MOC interviews. Not one comment on the Academy's desire for candidates with many years of high level, athletic prowess...with the caveat that it better have been injury free. Tweak a shoulder throwing a fastball in tenth grade and uhhh ohhh!

    Hope you didn't go to the doctor about that!

    My point in all this is, the significant amount of medical disqualifiers that come into play for many candidates should be much more openly discussed earlier in the process.....by someone!
     
  2. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    ColtDad I have attempted to address some of your questions. I understand your frustration, believe me.
     
  3. riverdale

    riverdale Member

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    ColtDad, I understand your frustration and our family also was not aware of the many medical issues that could result in a DQ from DoDMERB. We "googled" DoDMERB disqualifications early in the process and found the long list of common disqualifications. Our DS has been DQ'd by DoDMERB -- but we continue to hope that the SA to which he has applied will find him to be a competitive candidate and request a waiver. We wait with hope...
     
  4. ColtDad

    ColtDad Member

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    Good luck to you Riverdale. I hope you hear good news.

    We are thankful that our son was apparently thought highly enough by the USNA that they requested a waiver for him.

    Unfortunatley, the waiver was denied. He actually would have required several waivers, so we knew early on it was a long shot.

    Its frustrating to look at a very physically fit, healthy 17 year-old, and realize he was eliminated on grounds that he wasnt physically acceptable?! Absurd.

    Its frustrating that the severity of his were never examined....he was eliminated over the number of them.

    Im just saying that, had we had any idea the amount of disqualifying issues was so vast, we would have never bothered with this very time consuming process.
     
  5. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Did the correspondence you received back from admissions actually say it was because of 4 waivers?
    I don't know if it's any consolation but each year a number of highly qualified healthy kids are not found medically qualified. Even kids with LOA's.

    I have never heard of someone being denied on basis of number. If that was the case I wonder - why did admissions pursue the waiver?
     
  6. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    ColtDad - I just found the 4 Dq's through a search:
    astigmatism, asthma, hole in tympanic membrane and shoulder injury.
    If the waiver authorities find one condition that won't be waived, there is no point in pursuing the others.

    Nothing can be done about the astigmatism. I don't know how often Navy waives this but it's essentially not *fixable*.
    If the surgery to repair the hole in the tympanic membrane was successful - this would be waived - at least I have heard of it waived.
    Asthma - very individual but I have seen cases like your son's waived after testing is negative.
    Shoulder injury - this is troublesome. Looks like he would need surgery, after which if it was successful he could be waived but there just isn't the time.

    Injuries are tricky and admissions and the medical authorities need to be positive that it is completely healed and normal before they will allow admission.
    I understand your son is "healthy" but he must be healthy to the standards of the Navy.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Somehow, with an astigmatism in both eyes, I'm a rated aviator. Go figure. Med stuff can be vexing that way.
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    ^
    it depends on the extent of the astigmatism. yours is probably slight but if it's over 3.00 diopters it's gonna be a DQ.
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Oh, I was merely commenting.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2011
  10. ColtDad

    ColtDad Member

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    Just-A-Mom,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. You are correct. My assertion that the sheer number of DQ's played a role in my sons waiver denial was purely speculation on my part.

    Truth be known, anything I say on this forum is either personal observation or pure speculation considering that we have had virtually zero discussion or contact with anyone throughout this entire process.

    My sons tympanic membrane problems stems from a diving-board double flip gone wrong four years ago. It has been difficult to repair due to the location of the tear and has been operated on four times now. The specialist who operated this past December is confident in success this time. DS did not really want to have it operated on again but realized his chances at the USNA were zero without giving it a try. So he did. Then his waiver request was denied due to "chronic tympanic membrane issues". Somebody should have let us know it was futile since we made several efforts to get opinions before thelast operation. Nobody said that tympanic surgery is waiverable unless it appears "chronic". That was never mentioned.

    Prior to the surgery, our surgeon even attempted to speak with Navy medical personell to determine if the Navy had any preferred methods. We were told simply that the Navy or DODMERB could not or would not comment in that manner. While thats understandable, would'nt it have been better to let us know at that point that having multiple operations itself is a DQ?

    Astigmatism - Sons eyesight is correctable to 20/20. His astigmatism was over the limit at the USNA in one eye, OK in the other eye. Whatever the numbers were, they were not a problem with USCGA or USAFA. Strictly from my own observation, I believe that could have been waived.

    Asthma -As a young child of five or six years, fall allergies triggered a couple wheezing episodes for which he was put on allergy medicine. No issues then until some wheezing following one August practice in middle school football when he was 12 years old. The doctor prescribed a "puffer" that he used I believe once or twice the first week he had it. Since then we havent even owned one. Now, at 17 he has no problems at all and has not had any for five years. I would think that would warrant at least enough doubt to precipitate a discussion with his physician, or a challenge test, or... something. Nope. Not one comment. DQ.

    Shoulder- He is a baseball player. Has been since he was six years old. I know of very few baseball players who have not had shoulder pain at some time or another. Few escape playing the game for many years without doing something to their shoulders. Does it impede him from push-ups, pull-ups or lifting weights? Not at all. He passed his CFA with flying colors.

    That said, we have continued to investigate the shoulder issue and very recently had an MRI performed. True to form, we found he has a slight posterior labral tear. He has apparently had it since his sophmore year. While it doesn't hamper him from any activities and is little more than an annoyance when throwing a baseball, it represents yet another hurdle that will require a minor surgical proceedure to repair.

    So, in light of all this perhaps you can see where (in the absence of information which would disprove my theory) I would arrive at the conclusion that my DS was eliminated on the sheer volume of issues rather than the significance of any single issue? Factor in that USNA turns away thousands of similarly qualified candidates every year who do not have a laundry list of medical issues and, with all due respect, I believe my final analysis strikes much closer to the reality of the situation than not.

    Additionally, perhaps you can also see my origional point that somewhere in all the glossy literature, candidate manuals and admissions forum pep rally's..... a page or two should be devoted to informing applicants just how rigorous the medical requirements are to gain admisssion. We never saw anything other than the requirement for the CFA which our DS plowed right thru.

    Much information is directed toward the difficulties surrounding academic qualification, congressional nomination, leadership, and athletic prowess requirements....yet not one word we found prepared us for the equally stringent DODMERB physical, where long forgotten childhood malady's or slightly nagging sports injuries are as derailing to a candidate as pulling a 15 on the ACT.

    Thanks and good luck to those still in the hunt.
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    The Naval Academy admissions website has a link to the catalog.
    If you peruse the contents of the catalog, on Chapter 7 you will find an Appendix discussion medical qualification.
    http://www.usna.edu/Catalog/docs/7_121-133.pdf

    I am sorry for your son. There are many factors that go along with deciding to grant a waiver it's very individual and difficult to predict.
    One just has to go through the process, have a backup plan and hope for the best.
     
  12. MullenLE

    MullenLE Member

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