DoDMERB Question

afjrotc cadet

10-Year Member
Jan 16, 2007
Hi, I'm a senior in high school and I'm applying to West Point, the Air Force Academy and I began an application for the Merchant Marine Academy. One month ago DoDMERB told me I was medically disqualified because of a history of Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis (back problems I didn't even realize I had). I completed my applications to WP and the AFA but I've been waiting for a wavier from the academies. I already have the necessary nominations, two for WP and one for the AFA. The Merchant Marine Academy offered me a waiver, so I'm hopeful I could get one from WP or the AFA. I checked my status at the DoDMERB website and it said...

Applicant Entry: 06/05/2006
Correspondence - Multi-Service Disqualification Removal - Waived: 01/16/2007
Correspondence - Remedial(s) with no clin/Admin Remedial(s): 08/11/2006
Correspondence - Reviewed Medical at Program(s) Request: 11/28/2006
Correspondence - Single Disqualification: 12/12/2006

Appointment Scheduling Date : *NONE* Exam Taken : 07/10/2006
Exam Received: 07/24/2006 Medical Entry: 07/25/2006
Date posted to Waiver Authority: 12/12/2006

Agency: US Military Academy Sub Agency:
Current Medical Status: Pending Waiver Submission/Review

R250.00 - Pending waiver review by USMA
D227.80 - Spondylolysis, history of
D227.81 - Spondylolisthesis, history of
D252.10 - Non-rebuttal code

Agency: US Merchant Marine Academy Sub Agency:
Current Medical Status: Medical waiver granted

D227.80 - Spondylolysis, history of
D227.81 - Spondylolisthesis, history of
D252.10 - Non-rebuttal code
D259.30 - Waiver Approved - USMMA

Agency: US Air Force Academy Sub Agency:
Current Medical Status: Pending Waiver Submission/Review

R250.40 - Pending waiver review by USAFA
D227.80 - Spondylolysis, history of
D227.81 - Spondylolisthesis, history of
D252.10 - Non-rebuttal code

I'm not sure what the part about "Correspondence - Multi-Service Disqualification Removal - Waived: 01/16/2007" means, and I was wondering if anyone could shed any light on it. Does it mean that I'm going to get a waiver for all the academies or is it just there because the Merchant Marine Academy gave me a waiver?
afjrotc cadet,

The name of the letter that DoDMERB sent you is "Multi-Service Disqualification Removal". What you are looking for in your status is "Waiver Approved - XXXX". Once the "Pending waiver review by XXXX" has been removed and the "Waiver Approved - XXXX" placed in the academy or ROTC portion of the DoDMERB web site, then the waiver has been approved for that particular academy or ROTC program that you have applied for.
Do you think I could get a waiver for USMA or USAFA considering I got one from the USMMA? Are the standards that much different? The doctor I went to go see about my back problems is a retired Army Colonel. When he told me about my conditions he told me he didn't think the Army or Air Force would give me a waiver and that maybe the Naval Academy would, but definitely the Merchant Marine Academy.
afjrotc cadet,

Each waiver authority makes their own decision. They look at the requirements of the service, the issue that the applicant has, and the possibility that it can/will get worse. I can't tell you if they will approve or deny your wavier. It really depends on the severity of the spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. I can tell you that the wavier authorities will look at your case closely, and make the determination that they feel is best for that service and for your health.
Have a quick question that I haven't seen covered here. Lets pretend *cough cough* that I know a kid who has been diagnosed with eczema & is aware that this is on the DQ list. Wondering why they would automatically DQ this certain skin condition & can a wavier ever be obtained for this?

First, you should really have that cough looked at, sounds pretty nasty!

As for eczema, it comes in varying degrees of severity. The majority of people have a very slight case, where they get a small patch of dry scaly skin. Some people can have a more severe case of eczema where it affects a larger portion of the body, or a part of the body where if it flares up it can cause more problems (hands, feet, behind the knees or elbows). The more severe cases of eczema can actually crack and bleed given the right circumstances and conditions. As anyone knows, any time you have an open cut or sore it increases your risk for infection, and if it occurs on the hands, feet, elbows or knees it can reduce your mobility. When you look at the any service you can see where an open sore or reduced mobility has the possibility to endanger that person or others around that person. This is why it is a disqualification. The majority of minor cases of eczema (small patch) are granted waivers, those where it is a moderate to severe case, or in a problem area are less likely to receive a waiver.

Hope this is the info you are looking for, and again, make sure to get that cough checked out!
Boss you know I live to emulate all you do. :thumb: I musta just got choked up on a jelly belly. I haven't seen DODMERB stuff in two years & had no problems with the kid getting through it. So, when one kid told another kid that it was an automatic DQ & he couldn't apply, I said lets ask the Doc! My understanding is that its just itchy forearms that barely breaks a rash & only occurs in the cold winter months. So do you think they'll DQ him straight away then he'll need to go through the waiver process?
Any history of eczema after the age of 8 is a disqualification. Again, the less severe, the more likely a waiver. I'd say apply and go for the waiver.

Another hypothetical question. What if a kid with eczema is not very good about following Dr's orders regarding lotion everyday, no hot showers, etc and his eczema would probably not be too bad if he followed instructions?
I'd tell this hypothetical kid that he needs to start thinking about following his doctors orders and taking care of himself/herself. If the medical records show that with proper care the eczema does not flare as often or has decreased, then the chances for a wavier increase.
Another thought.... Wonder if by keeping it under control with creams & such, if during things like Indoc/Plebe Summer/Beast, if the kids who have it suffer much due to not being able have the time to care for it the way they'll need to. The heat, running while drowned in sweat, ect. The hot shower didn't enter my mind as they only do a run through during those weeks. The description of the eczema was too, that every time hot water hit it, it felt like hot acid on the skin.
It was many years ago, but a close friend of mine (really!) at USNA had what sounds like "moderate" eczema. It was, however, disqualifying for unrestricted line -- thus, he had to accept a position in the Staff Corps, in his case, Supply. He's now an O-6, so obviously not an impediment to him or his career.
Would a note from Dr explaining that exzema does not effect day to day living and if properly taken care of it would not be too bad help at all in the waiver process?

You hit the nail on the head as far as the concern for eczema. Depending on the service, the person may not have the opportunity to shower every day, or to not be in a very hot/very cold/humid/dry environment. During indoc/beast/plebe summer the cadets/midshipmen do spend a lot of time running around in the middle of summer, in hot and humid environments, and speaking from experience in dealing with plebes, there are very few times when they aren't sweating. Not good for eczema. Again, speaking from experience, the winter in the desert can be cold and dry. During Desert Storm/Shield we had to med-evac Marines to Germany due to flare ups of their eczema.

Waivers are granted for eczema, and from what I've seen as long as its not to extensive, and well controlled, waivers are normally granted.
How about waivers for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis? I didn't even realize I had the condition. I guess it was part of a Doctor's analysis when I sent in remedial information regarding "back pain" I had experienced a couple years ago. I haven't had any sort of surgery done to my back or anything. Are waivers for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis hard to come by?
Thanks RetNavyHM. I'll pass that along to whoever. :biggrin:

afjrotc cadet, sorry I highjacked your thread. I hope all goes well for you! Let us know how it goes. The Doc must be out but I'm sure he'll get back to you when he can on that last question. Hmmmm.... He must be taking a long lunch hour..... :wiggle:
afjrotc cadet,

As I stated before I really can't tell you if a waiver will be granted for the spondylolysis/spondylolisthesis or not. It all depends on the severity of the problem and the likelihood that it will get worse in the future. Spondylolysis/spondylolisthesis waviers in my experience are far and few between. The fact that you have a waiver from one academy waiver authority is a good sign, but the other academies waiver authorities may deny the waivers.
Just an update on the situation.

For USMA as of 23 FEB 07:
R221.07 - REQUIRES A PHYSICIAN'S APPOINTMENT: PHYSICIAN INSTRUCTIONS: Please obtain a NEW consultation by an orthopedic surgeon concerning a history of back/spine; request updated evaluation by ortho surgeon for hx spondylolysis/spondylolisthesis. Need statement to clear candidate for all activities including military training. jjt20feb07 . Consultation must include a detailed history of the injury and any treatment/rehabilitation. The consultant must include as part of the examination specific mention of range of motion, strength, and ANY physical restrictions that the examinee's current condition would entail. APPLICANT ONLY INSTRUCTIONS: Please provide DoDMERB information regarding the extent of your participation in athletics/recreational activities during the past year. List and explain in detail if there were any restrictions imposed by the above condition or if any external supports or braces were required. Please provide DoDMERB copies of all medical/treatment records related to the above history if you have not already done so.

I did all of that and the spine specialist I saw said he saw no problem with me undergoing any sort of physical activity. I FEDEXed that over to DoDMERB and they posted it to the waiver authority on 20 MAR 07. Also, I recieved a letter of assurance from West Point saying they would save a cadetship for me so long as I am found medically qualified by 15 APR 07. How long do you believe it would take West Point Doctors to review my wavier request and grant/deny a wavier?