Incoming DODMERB DQ - new to forum - help!


10-Year Member
Sep 16, 2006
Just posted this on the USNA forum but then saw this forum, so here it is again....this is for my son Mike who's applying to the USNA and AF:

I called DODMERB yesterday to followup on some additional medical paperwork they had requested and the woman told me that DODMERB had just mailed us a letter advising son Mike was going to be disqualified.

Mike had some minor arthroscopic surgery to his knees when he was 14 to let his kneecaps grow in properly (official term was a "lateral release" - his kneecaps were being painfully pulled off to the side by a growth spurt, and they sliced a muscle to give it more time / room to grow properly). Both his doctor and rehab rep wrote letters during our initial DODMERB paperwork submittal stating that his condition is now perfect and that he's without any phsyical restrictions, but apparently DODMERB thinks differently (something about them expecting chronic pain - we'll have to wait for the letter to get the official wording).

Mike currently plays high school tennis and runs on the cross country team (runs the mile under 6 mins) so obviously his knees ain't too shabby! He's also got high SAT's, been a 3 yr Petty Officer in SeaCadets, awesome community service, and was selected / attended (3) three of the academy summer seminars - NASS, AFS, and CG-AIM this summer, so he must have what it takes to make it far in the admission process. But with this black mark from DODMERB, he's going to be devastated when the letter arrives, i.e. that it will ruin his dream to attend USNA. So we need help from the forum - what's his next step? Or do we all sit and wait and hope that the "automatic waiver review" by the academies will be enough to get him over this DQ? HELP!

Dknightfam & Mikeknight2011

I'm sorry to hear that your son was disqualified, but its not the end of the world by any means. If you've read any of the other posts that I've placed here, you will realize that waivers are granted everyday for multiple reasons. DoDMERB has to go with what the instruction states, they have no gray area. The wavier authorities have all the gray area in the world to work with.

Based on the information you've given me, it appears that your son falls into one of the "history of" disqualifications, which means that if he's ever had it, he's disqualified by DoDMERB no matter what any of the specialists say, and its up to the wavier authorities to review the information and grant the wavier.

The instruction is as follows: E1.18.1 - Current or HISTORY OF chondromalacia, including, but not limited to chronic patello-femoral pain syndrome and retro-patellar pain syndrome, chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis, is disqualifying.

The specialists evals will help the wavier authorities to make their determination, so if you have more information of that sort I would send it to DoDMERB requesting that it be forwarded to the wavier authorities. Also, if your son has healed and is currently active in sports and other activities, I would have him write a letter stating what activities, both organized and unorganized, that he currently participates in and how he is limited, if at all.

This needs to be looked at as just a speed bump and not as the end of the world. Just realize that DoDMERB is just a clearing house and the service academy wavier authorities have the final say.

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask away!
Whew. That's great info and a relief

that just the fact that he had the surgery (regardless of his current condition) is what forced the DQ.

So we'll await the official letter, follow your advise, and get the letters, etc. pulled together.

Did I read in other posts that the AF is tougher to get a waiver from (due to the head surgeon there being the only decision maker), but that Navy is easier due to multiple ways of getting the waiver???

Thanks for being available on the forum and for helping him (and us) sleep better - i.e. that he's still got a shot at this dream.

Thanks Doc - another question please

the official DQ was

D224.90 - Chronic retro patellar knee pain syndrome, history of

so it looks like you guessed right. But your earlier reply had an "E1.18.1" designation vs this "D224.90" code - was that DODMERB's instruction code, vs the disqualification code?

Also, in addition to sending DODMERB additional phsysician / coach information about how good Mike's knees are now, would it be benificial to send to Navy Admissions? I ask because it appears that we don't have to request a waiver from Navy - it's automatic. But I'm assuming more paper in the application file would help?

Thanks again - Dan

The numbers I used are the chapter out of the DoD instruction that DoDMERB uses and not the disqualification numbers.

There is no need to submit additional information to the admissions office, they don't do the waivers, and will just forward the information to DoDMERB. As long you send the information to DoDMERB all the wavier authorities will be able to view it.

As for one service being more difficult than another as for waivers, I don't think thats true. It can happen that one service will waive something that another service won't. Biggest one with that, the sea services grant very few vision waivers where AF and Army grant quite a few.