Another asthma question


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 16, 2008
I'm not new to DODMERB son applied to the USNA and ended up receiving an NROTC scholarship to RPI. My daughter is a JR and is interested in exploring the military...specifically the USNA (she was with us on our visit to Annapolis and liked it). She is a very good swimmer, and her times for her events are in line with the best swimmers at the USNA. She is very fit, will pass the fitness test with flying colors. Her grades and SATs are good as well. Problem is, she has in the past received inhalers during swimming when she's had a cold and needed/wanted to continue training. She has used the inhalers during winter when she gets whatever cold is going around, but only at our local pool, which is in dire need of a new HVAC system (as of 10 years ago). She has no problems at any other pool, including the other local pool that she trains at, does not use the inhalers, etc. But it's in her medical records now, ie, that she's been prescribed inhalers. Having been through the NROTC, USNA, and DODMERB applications recently, I know that it's a major effort. What are her chances for a waiver? Should I be pro-active now and have her do a methacholine challenge test?
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
USNA requested a pulmonary function test from us, but my d has had no symptoms or inhalers for 3+ yrs. You might be better off to send PFT results in with your std med data, and only do the methacholine challenge if they ask for it. If RetNavyHM disagrees with me, do what he says.
Thanks. Is a PFT something that can be performed by the ped or GP, or do I need to involve a specialist?
This is one of those special cases. Your daughter will be disqualified for asthma/reactive airway disease due to the fact that she was prescribed and used the medication. There will be no way around that, as DoDMERB can only use the information in the medical records that she used the medications after the 13th birthday, and the physician that prescribed the medication had to give a diagnosis of some sort of airway disease. So based on that, if you want to get a PFT that is completely up to you, but there will still be a DoDMERB disqualification.

Now, to the reason that she had difficulty. It is a known fact that swimming pools with poor ventilation can cause some reactive airways due to the high chlorine amounts in the air.

This will be information that will be useful for the waiver authorities when they review her case for waiver. At this point in time, I would start to gather medical records from the age of 10 till present, and keep the information updated.

Once you get closer to her physical examination date you can start getting a letter together for the waiver authority. All the medical records should be sent to DoDMERB when they request them, and not with the physical examination.

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask away.
Is there any recommendation as to what can be done to prepare for a Methalcoline Challenge test to increase chances that there is no positive finding....not talking about cheating or using inhalers.........but rather such things as to/not excercise on preceding days, foods to avoid, etc?
The only thing that could skew the test negatively is if the applicant has any type of respiratory infection at the time of the test. Other than that, I would probably advise against doing any physical activities the day of the test.
Good luck with a waiver for asthma. My son was being recruited to play soccer for USAFA last year. He received a congressional nomination and was told by the USAFA soccer coaches he was getting an appointment, but he had one doctor's visit over 3 years ago for seasonal allergies where our family doctor wrote down a note about asthma symptoms. As a result, he was found medically disqualified by DoDMERB. Yet, our son doesn't have asthma and the soccer coaches were confident his waiver would go through.

Our family doctor wrote a letter to DoDMERB and USAFA stating that he made a mistake when he wrote down asthma symptoms. We filed for a waiver and had to go to a pulmonologist for methacholline challenge tests which proved my son did not have asthma. We waited for over 10 months--no waiver. He also never received any official word from USAFA about his status which baffled everyone, including his AFLO. His status at the USAFA web site remained "official candidate" and never changed.

So, my son had to go to another university. Then, 5 days before he moved into the school where he is now attending, he received a letter from DoDMERB telling him that his medical waiver was approved (Aug. 6, 2007)! It was too late of course! Our congressman made some phone calls and found out that DoDMERB filed a rebuttal after receiving the pulmonary function test results, but somehow the admissions office at USAFA didn't know about the rebuttal. Needless to say, we were all very upset. It ruined my son's chance of going to USAFA which was his dream.

He is doing very well though as an engineering major and has begun AFROTC this semester which he loves. He has also applied for scholarship money through AFROTC. Hopefully that will all work out after everything that he went through! He has a great desire to serve in the Air Force. We asked him if he wanted to try again to get into USAFA and his response is mixed. There is a part of him that wishes he was at USAFA, but he is kind of mad at what they put him through. He also loves where he is right now and is receiving an excellent education.

We hope no one else has to experience what we went through.