Our journey through the DoDMERB process

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by USAFA83GradWife, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

    Dec 19, 2013
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    I've been lurking for some time on this board, so decided I would impart some of our experiences about the DoDMERB process. I hope this helps someone.

    I know this is late for this year's class, but for next year, get started EARLY! Especially if you have an item that might get flagged for review. In Aug, DD was flagged for grade-1 spondylolysis, a stress fracture in the spine, that occurred in 8th grade (actually 10% of elite athletes have this and don't know it.) I called DoDMERB when she showed DQ-ed on the DoDMERB site and before I got the letter from them. They said get all medical information and xray reports in "before the rush" and we could possibly hear within 2 weeks about a waiver. Waiting longer than that would extend that time to a month or more. At this point, we didn't even know if USAFA or USNA would request a waiver, but we decided to think positive and started collecting all the data!

    Both SAs asked for a waiver the next day and we got the DoDMERB letter a couple of days after that. Here's a list of items I had to get for them (this may be different from what they ask of you, but I think it's a good representative set):
    1. all medical records relating to condition or injury
    2. x-ray and/or MRI "reports" (they did not want the films)
    3. letter from doctor clearing you for all activity - list any limitations if applicable
    4. physical therapy notes (I think they want to know if you successfully completed PT - my own guess)
    5. list of activities & sports currently being played

    I also sent in a letter from DD's orthopedic spine specialist explaining the condition and why it isn't a factor. We were lucky in that he was a retired Army Col who worked at Walter Reed and his job was to determine fitness for deployment. That being said, any other letters you can get from the doctor or specialist never hurts to send. When in doubt, get it & sent it.

    Other good to know items:
    Try to send everything at once. It's just makes life less complicated and saves you stamps. If the SA's WA doesn't have everything they need, they put the file aside and have DoDMERB send you another letter about the missing items (or in our case, additional information because they noticed something in the medical records - DD had a torn ACL/meniscus surgery last year. This was a much bigger package to send them since it was a 1 year recovery time.) I suspect DoDMERB probably stopped the review once they saw the spondylolysis.

    I wanted to scan it all in & send it to them, but was told that they needed a hard copy of everything. They would rather you send them paper (No need to spend tax payer money on printing everything). They then scan it all into the right format to send to the WA.

    DoDMERB does not make the final waiver decision. Each SA has it's own WA medical board to do this, so calling them about the status won't get you anywhere. They *are* very nice, though, and try to help you as best they can.

    If you call DoDMERB and you have to leave a message, don't worry, they will call back. We never waited more than 2 days.

    Check back to the DoDMERB site since it will be updated before you get any letters from them.

    The good news, DD got a waiver from USNA in Oct and USAFA in Nov!
    Every case is different and each is one is reviewed thoroughly and carefully. That's why it takes so long. Never lose hope!
  2. Vista123

    Vista123 5-Year Member

    Aug 5, 2011
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    you are so right on every tip!

    I have two sons a year apart so we went through this two years in a row. The first year I actually posted "Dodmerb was the easiest part of the entire application process."

    bad karma, I should have knocked on wood

    The next year, the next son...From the eye doctor administering the test wrong causing a subsequent fail, to the audiology report from the physical gone missing...this has been by far the hardest part of this years process.
  3. Aveon

    Aveon Member

    Jan 1, 2014
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    @Vista: Seems we have a lot in common. I also have two sons very close in age. The first Dodmerb process went well. The other, not so much.

    For DS2 the optical exam was also rather a nightmare. We kept watching the portal as Dodmerb sent chaser letters out. After awhile, we decided to take things into our own hands and call the vision center. We were told that they had shredded DS's file and had nothing to send in to Dodmerb, so they were "stumped" as to what to send Dodmerb for the chaser letters!! :mad:

    I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I requested another exam to be done and they said their hands were tied due to the shutdown. :unhappy:

    So, I told them that they better get with the doctor and recreate the file pronto, or I was going to the state board as by law the records had to be kept for 10 years. Needless to say, the next day we received a phone call that the information had been sent to Dodmerb. :biggrin:

    I guess the moral of the story is to make sure that all information is being submitted on time, including the medical/vision exam records from the facilities to Dodmerb. And, followup on everything yourself. Over a month was wasted waiting to see if the vision center would respond to chaser letters from Dodmerb. It really didn't affect DS in the end, but if one is down to the wire on having to have the Dodmerb completed it could definitely create problems.

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