DoDMERB AROTC Standards vs SA Standards - Hope?


VMI 2022, US Army
5-Year Member
Jan 13, 2018
Hello SA Forum Community,

I was medically disqualified from attending USMA about a week ago, and I'm worried that I will be medically disqualified from my AROTC Scholarship just the same. Is there a chance that DoDMERB reviews candidates' files in a different light for ROTC scholarships than they do for the SAs? Is there even a slim chance that I won't be medically disqualified again? My parents and I are very worried. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

If you were wondering what I was disqualified for it was:
  • Current nutritional deficiency diseases (D132.30)
  • Academic skills disorders (D231.90)
D132.30 - My parents (who are both doctors) believe that DoDMERB mistook my asymptomatic Mediterranean Anemia (a common trait amongst people of South Asian and African descent to protect against Malaria) as Iron Deficiency Anemia due to my microcytosis (smaller red blood cells - an indicator of low iron). I also believe this may be a misdiagnosis because I eat like a pig (in a healthy way). My hemoglobin level is well within the normal range (14.5 g/dL - literally just tested yesterday when I got my Tetanus shot for VMI), and I performed above average on the CFA and my AROTC Scholarship's PFA.

D231.90 - I was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child and from a young age was prescribed Adderal to alleviate my symptoms. As I grew up, the symptoms of my disorder slowly abated and, by February 2017, I was completely off medication. I understand why Adderal, a very powerful drug, would give DoDMERB more than enough of a reason to medically disqualify me. However, I took the SAT (on which I received a 1510) and maintained a 3.5-3.6 GPA (highly competitive high school's average GPA is around a 3.3) throughout my high school career all while off medication.

I sent in all the necessary paperwork supporting my case but alas, I still received a medical disqualification notice along with a TWE from USMA last week. I'm very worried that the same will happen with my AROTC Scholarship. Is there any hope? Thanks. Sorry for the long post.

I just want to make sure we’re using the same terms.

Mediterranean anemia means to me that you have beta thalassemia or thalassemia major. Is that what you have?
I just want to make sure we’re using the same terms.

Mediterranean anemia means to me that you have beta thalassemia or thalassemia major. Is that what you have?

I have beta thalassemia minor (asymptomatic). It’s the recessive form of the beta thalassemia major condition, the latter of which requires constant blood transfusions to survive :|

In other words, I’m heterozygous for beta thalassemia.

My dad also has beta thalassemia minor, so I probably got it from him.
Here’s why I think I was misdiagnosed with iron deficiency anemia...


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I just want to make sure we’re using the same terms.

Mediterranean anemia means to me that you have beta thalassemia or thalassemia major. Is that what you have?

Sorry for the confusion. I just learned that the term, Mediterranean Anemia, specifically applies to thalassemia major. I thought it was a blanket term for all thalassemias. Whoops.
Glad we got that cleared up. I'm pretty sure none of the services will waiver anyone with thalassemia major.

Theoretically, the waiver answer you get from the USMA and AROTC should be the same because the standards (AR 40-501) both commissioning sources use are the same and they should be enforced uniformly. The reality is that the USMA and AROTC have 2 different waiver authorities and 2 different sets of doctors reviewing the records, comparing them to the AR 40-501 standards, and providing a recommendation to the WA. When you have 2 sets of humans with different experiences, medical specialties, and possibly different guidance, then it is very possible you get 2 different answers. Therefore, just because you didn't get a waiver from the USMA it doesn't mean you won't get one for AROTC. You're still in the running.

If you've got thalassemia minor, I think you have a good chance provided you show documentation from a hematologist that it's your true diagnosis. You should also provide serial CBCs throughout your lifetime documenting your hemoglobin and hematocrit are within normal limits. To rule out iron-deficiency anemia, then you could probably show your iron studies (ferritin or total-iron binding capacity) are normal. I'm sure you provided the results of a hemogloblin electrophoresis, to include hemoglobin A2 quantification, in your paperwork to prove thalassemia minor.

As for the ADHD, I've seen posts in this forum where applicants have been given waivers for a prior history. You said our last dose of med was in Feb 17 which tells me it's about the middle of your 2nd semester of junior year in HS. I recall posters talking about waivers being given if they've been off meds for a longer period of time than what you report. By the time you applied to the USMA and AROTC (assuming fall 17/winter 18), you had been off the med only less than a year. That might not bode well in your favor. The reviewers will probably want to know that you've been able to sustain a high level of academic work for a prolonged period of time (i.e. more than 1 year).

I am more hopeful for the thalassemia minor waiver than for history of ADHD, but I'm truly rooting for all this to work out for you.

VMI is a good place to go. Just don't take the yelling and harassment too seriously. It's all part of the game/experience.
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