johnny1530

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I am applying for the NROTC MO scholarship and I plan on earning a commission as a Marine officer after I graduate. Only problem is that I have dislocated my shoulder about 4 times and my doctors are telling me that I need surgery to stabilize it. THERE ARE NO TEARS IN THE MUSCLES OR LIGAMENTS, the surgery is just to tighten the ligaments surrounding it. I know that having a shoulder operation can potentially disqualify you from service. Do any of you know if they grant waivers often for shoulder surgeries, especially in the Marines? I have decent to good stats otherwise (30 ACT, 3.9 GPA, 273 PFT, clean record, and an athlete). Will I be in a good position to get a waiver for my surgery especially if my doctor writes me notes?

PS: also, I am having the surgery done by one of the top doctors at Johns-Hopkins and he told me he has done the exact same procedure on prospective Army ROTC guys in the past who didn't have much of a problem getting the waiver. I always thought that the army was a little more lenient than the Marines though. In general, is it more difficult for Marines to get waivers on this kind of thing than Army guys?

If you have any past experiences or know of someone who dealt with the same or similar issue, please let me know what happened to them.

Any other advice on this matter would be great, Thanks.
 

AJC

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I am not a Doctor. But I have had a Doctor, shoulder specialist that fixed my sons shoulder, tell me that it is very rare that a person could dislocate their shoulder and not have tears. Sounds like what you have is a stability problem. based on what I learned through my son's DoDMERB waiver process for his shoulder surgery is that instability is what concerns them most. So with or without the surgery you are looking at a DQ, probably.
If you get the scholarship your history will DQ you. Good news is that a waiver process will begin. If you have the surgery you will be asked for all the records related to the surgery and recovery from the surgeon. They will also want a letter from the surgeon stating you are "cleared for full and unrestricted activity". additionally you will be DQ'd for 6 months after the surgery.
Search the forum for shoulder posts. There are a lot.
Good Luck
 

5Day

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I cannot comment to your chances of getting a waiver. A lot will have to do with how bad they want you. But I believe your chances are much higher with a stable shoulder after surgery than an unstable shoulder without surgery. Your health is more important than any commission. Get your shoulder repaired. Either way it will be a DQ. Keep good records and documentation and let the chips fall and hope for the best.
 

johnny1530

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I am not a Doctor. But I have had a Doctor, shoulder specialist that fixed my sons shoulder, tell me that it is very rare that a person could dislocate their shoulder and not have tears. Sounds like what you have is a stability problem. based on what I learned through my son's DoDMERB waiver process for his shoulder surgery is that instability is what concerns them most. So with or without the surgery you are looking at a DQ, probably.
If you get the scholarship your history will DQ you. Good news is that a waiver process will begin. If you have the surgery you will be asked for all the records related to the surgery and recovery from the surgeon. They will also want a letter from the surgeon stating you are "cleared for full and unrestricted activity". additionally you will be DQ'd for 6 months after the surgery.
Search the forum for shoulder posts. There are a lot.
Good Luck

Do you know what will happen if I don't get the scholarship? Will I just be able to enter NROTC Marine Option as a college programmer and begin the waiver process from there? Or do I need to get the scholarship before the waiver process can begin?
 

5Day

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DoDMERB for NROTC is triggered by being awarded a scholarship. So if you are not the recipient of a 4 year and enter as a college programmer the process will not start until mid to end of freshman year or possibly even later. That would be a good thing for you. You would have more time to heal and more time to prove that you have no physical limitations.
 

AJC

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The upside is they will not know about your shoulder until after they award the scholarship.
At that point, having been selected, they will try to keep you if they can.
 

johnny1530

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The upside is they will not know about your shoulder until after they award the scholarship.
At that point, having been selected, they will try to keep you if they can.
Is it a good idea to talk to my OSO or recruiting officer about my shoulder problems, or is it probably best to keep that information away from them in case they put it on record? I want to get a Marines perspective on what I should do about this situation but I'm worried that if I tell them right now about it it may screw me further down the road. Any advice on that?
 

AJC

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My advice is keep it to yourself. You will have to do a medical history for DoDMERB if you get the scholarship.
Nothing to gain by telling anyone at this point.
The only opinion that matters is DoDMERB's and you cannot ask them.
During this process, listen to the questions, answer the questions. Volunteering information of any type that was not asked for will never help you.
It might not hurt you but why take the chance?
I agree with 5Day that you have a better chance with a fixed shoulder.
 

5Day

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If you want to talk to someone, speak with the marine officer at one of the batallions you are considering. You can also find out about what you need to do to join as a college programmer. You will want to be up front about your shoulder with your batallion. You want their support and advocacy. One factor in getting a waiver is how bad the want you. Just about every medical condition is waiverable. Some will get one and some will not. Severity does factor, but if they want you really really bad your waiver chances increase. Your batallion will get to know you and you need their support.
 

kinnem

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Personally I think it's a matter of choosing which condition you want to try to get a waiver for.... the dislocations or the surgery to correct it. It will come up during DoDMERB either way. I would think tackling the surgery now will give you time to recover prior to reporting. That's just my 2 cents. It's definitely a difficult decision. Your OSO might have a better perspective.
 

johnny1530

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DoDMERB for NROTC is triggered by being awarded a scholarship. So if you are not the recipient of a 4 year and enter as a college programmer the process will not start until mid to end of freshman year or possibly even later. That would be a good thing for you. You would have more time to heal and more time to prove that you have no physical limitations.

So essentially if I got the scholarship I would be DQed immediately after the medical exam, then I'd have to wait until my waiver request is approved/denied. My question is, while I'm awaiting DoDMERB's decision, will I be able to stay in the NROTC unit and participate in PT and such? Or do I have to wait until I hear back from DoDMERB to be in the unit?
 

AJC

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my son started AROTC in august and did not get his waiver until December.
he has a 3yr, not 4yr. but his ROO told him to proceed as if it would come through.
sp participation would not be a problem.
although a 4 yr might not start until the waiver comes through.
so get the scholarship and then go through the process
 

5Day

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I agree with @AJC For a HS student with a 4 year scholarship a waiver decision would be made prior to starting college.
 

AJC

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that is why a 6 month after surgery period should be over before school starts. they can not waive prior to that.
 

NavyNOLA

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I agree with @AJC For a HS student with a 4 year scholarship a waiver decision would be made prior to starting college.

A student with a scholarship that is pending a waiver can still be in an NROTC unit and participating to the fullest extent allowable based on any physical limititations. They just won't have their scholarship activated. In essence, they are treated as a college programmer until a decision on the waiver is made. It's not uncommon. We had two mids in this boat this past fall semester.
 

Dial the gate

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DS was awarded a 4-year Navy option. If he is still waiting on a waiver in the fall, his scholarship is not activated, I assume the school is going to want their money. So we pay for his tuition, will we be reimbursed for that semester "when" the waiver comes through and his scholarship is activated, or do we lose that money?

Thank you!
 

NavyNOLA

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DS was awarded a 4-year Navy option. If he is still waiting on a waiver in the fall, his scholarship is not activated, I assume the school is going to want their money. So we pay for his tuition, will we be reimbursed for that semester "when" the waiver comes through and his scholarship is activated, or do we lose that money?

Thank you!

Yes, you'll have to pay tuition until the scholarship is activated. Of note, many units have the ability to pay tuition until pretty late in the semester, so they can normally sit on it for a while and wait to hear back about the waiver; this will vary school to school, though. If, say, fall tuition wasn't paid by the Navy because you were waiting for a waiver, and the waiver came through in the spring semester, you can apply to be reimbursed for fall tuition. It's not guaranteed, but it's there.
 
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