Report or Wait?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by cadet21, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. cadet21

    cadet21 New Member

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    I am currently a sophomore in AFROTC and have already been cleared by DoDMERB. About 6 years ago I was told I have minor scoliosis and that it is nothing to be worried about as it will not get worse. I went to a doctor last week who suggested to go get xrays to assure it has not gotten worse. I had the xrays done and looked at them myself, i have not brought them to a doctor and have not been officially told that I have a certain degree of scoliosis. From looking at them, it looks like i may be extremely close to the air force's disqualifying degree for back curvature. It is possible for me to treat it myself by working out/stretching. After I commission, the scoliosis restrictions are relaxed immensely. I have no pain or restrictions so there is no urgent need to receive treatment, and it is extremely unlikely that it will worsen.

    My question is, since I have not been officially told that I have scoliosis, though I now have records showing I received xrays to check for scoliosis, should I report this to cadre at the risk of being disqualified? Will there be a final physical that checks for scoliosis before I commission? Should I just treat it myself and not bother reporting it, as it presents no restrictions to movement or physical activity?
     
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  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Some points to clarify so you can get the best unofficial comments here...

    Who told you, in the first instance, you have “minor scoliosis?” Was it a formal diagnosis by a healthcare provider?
    Was it documented in a medical record?
    How did you respond to the DODMERB medical history form, as a Yes or No, on the “have you ever had or now had” portion?
    If you were cleared by DODMERB, no DQs, was that based on no mention of this particular situation?
    Later in your post, you note you “haven’t been officially told it’s a certain degree.” That’s why it would be good to know who mentioned it to you first. The DODMERB form does not ask if you had a certain degree of anything, but if you have ever had or now have. Of course, if a licensed medical provider has never diagnosed you with scoliosis, that’s different.

    My concern here is that it’s the Service’s medical professionals, who know the demands of active duty, who get to decide to waive DQs, based on a concern for accession candidates’ health and impact on unit readiness. Self-diagnosis is not a good idea here.

    There are many reasons post-accession standards are less stringent than accession. I am sad to say I get a whiff of “let me slide under the radar” here.

    I suspect you might be struggling with this and trying to convince yourself no one needs to know. The harder path is likely the cleaner path here. It’s clear you want to serve, I appreciate that.

    Please come back with some amplification. There will be many here who have insight and advice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  3. cadet21

    cadet21 New Member

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    I do believe it was a formal diagnosis as I was told it was 12 degrees and that no treatment was needed as it wouldnt get worse.
    I do not know if it was documented and who would have documented it
    I don't recall what I put on the DODMERB form, is there a way for me to check? I was never asked for further tests/remedials and theres a good chance I didnt add anything about scoliosis because it simply didnt cross my mind as it was so long ago and so minor.

    I would love to just take care of it myself knowing that it doesnt present any restrictions, but my fear is if I have to receive a final physical before commissioning and a doctor checks for scoliosis I dont want to somehow get hit with an integrity violation because of records from years ago

    If it makes any difference, I am already DQd from rated positions due to eyesight and plan on going for developmental engineering.

    Thank you for your help
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Here’s hard-to-hear advice: step away from looking for unofficial opinions (mine included) on an anonymous website, perhaps hoping for someone to say “you’re in the clear, you don’t need to mention it.” Time for you to gather definitive information and take action steps.

    It sounds like you found the reference that gives the DOD guidance for all services, listing the parameters for scoliosis as a spinal condition. You need a doctor to interpret the x-rays and tell you the degree as it is now, and document it in your medical record.

    I think this is the most current DOD policy on accession standards. DODMERB Qs or DQs in accordance with this. The Services have individual policies on what they will waiver.

    http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/613003p.pdf

    Page 28. Take a copy of this when you go see the doctor. You will either have a reportable condition, or not. If you have a reportable one, you call DODMERB, talk nicely to the technician and tell her or him you need to update your medical history. Then you follow the process from there, and it’s all out in the open.

    Or, it may not meet the criteria to report, but now you have a medical opinion and diagnosis to support that.
     
  5. cadet21

    cadet21 New Member

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    Are there any possible repercussions if I were to delay getting an official diagnosis until commissioning? I have no problem letting the Air Force know, and I completely understand my obligation to, though I would like to minimize the possibility of disqualification. If this means waiting until commissioning, or even waiting a few months to do physical therapy and reduce it as much as possible, then redo the xrays and get the updated xrays analyzed, I would much prefer that as long as there are no possible repercussions to delaying it.

    Officially I am currently negligent to my condition, as the doctor only recommended me to get xrays and has yet to provide a diagnosis.
     
  6. k2rider

    k2rider 5-Year Member

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    Somethings missing in your story. When you completed the medical questionnaire for the DoDMERB process, did you or did you not report the issue? If you are going to stick with the “I don’t remember how I answered the question on DoDMERB” answer, I’m going to call BS. I also don’t expect that your Cadre will believe that.

    Now if you DID report it and they asked for clarification from a doctor and DoDMERB still cleared you (or you were cleared via a waiver), I might be inclined to say you are probably okay *unless* there’s new information that the scoliosis did in fact get worse. In that case, the right thing to do is report the issue. The sooner the better.
     
  7. cadet21

    cadet21 New Member

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    Considering this is completely anonymous and I am seeking advice, I'm curious as to why you think I would be dishonest in saying I don't remember what I put on the DoDMERB application, that would not benefit me here at all. However, if I didn't put that I was diagnosed for whatever reason on the application, and then suddenly called DoDMERB saying I have some xrays showing that I have scoliosis, would they not see that I had xrays done in the past and disqualify me for not placing that on the initial application? And if that is the result of bringing the condition up to them now, isnt the most logical decision to refrain from bringing it to anyones attention?
     
  8. k2rider

    k2rider 5-Year Member

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    Why? Because I sat next to both of my kids as they filled out that DoDMERB questionnaire and know EVERY SINGLE ANSWER they put down.... and that was 7 and 9 years ago. Both my kids had to go through the remedial process and my daughter even had to go through the lengthy waiver process. You went through the DoDMERB process 2-3 years ago max so you should know if you if you were completely forthcoming on the questionnaire or not.

    As to you other questions....if you never mentioned the scoliosis in the original DoDMERB process but went to your Cadre now with "new" x-rays indicating the issue, I would expect that their first question would be to ask you if you documented the issue during the original DoDMERB process....which was my first question. If you in fact did NOT report the issue as you should have 2-3 years ago, I expect they may take away your scholarship since I'm sure they expect their Officer candidates to be completely honest during the scholarship process. As for your last question, only you can decide what is the "right" thing to do. What would do you think the Air Force expects from it's leaders? The right decision isn't always the easiest one.
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    As the Shark Tank folks say, “I’m out.” It’s the “refraining from mentioning” approach that did it.
     
  10. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    No.

    You have duty to report and disclose this issue.

    You have now heard it from a retired Navy O-6, a law enforcement professional as well as a plain old dad.

    You are going to do whatever you decide anyways. Good luck looking over your shoulder for years to come.
     
  11. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    This seems pretty significant to try and remember how you did your DODMRB paperwork for the rest of your life. The truth is so much easier. Now you have to recall how you answered DODMRB, as well as when/how you knew of your issue (X-rays). That right there, IMO, is the reason to bring forth the info. This seems to also fall into the “ignorance of the law is no excuse” principal to me. You have info now, that seems significant. Once you have medical records generated (X-ray), I don’t see how you can justify reasoning like you are.

    I don’t recall every answer DS put on his DODMRB paperwork, altho the ‘biggies’ I do. The fitness of your back seems pretty significant. We also made copies. Of everything. Had to even get a new printer from all the copies through the whole process.

    I don’t see how you CANT bring forth your X-rays. Period. I’m very curious if anyone thinks you don’t need to
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    If the OP reads the accession standard, they can see the reportable threshold. If they ask a doctor to review the x-rays and comment in the medical record the specifics that are needed that make it clear whether or not it’s reportable, they will then know whether if they have to report or not. If it’s reportable, they contact DODMERB to update, possibly go through a remedial process. That way, they appear to be acting responsibly and transparently. The fact they are considering the post-commission standards and keep coming back to a rationale for “refraining to inform,” tells me the individual is putting their desire to commission over the spirit and intent of the physical qualification process. I am pretty sure there is likely to be a final pre-comm update physical before commissioning, usually 18 months before (for Navy, assume other services may be similar). I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to get this all cleared up sooner, rather than later, no matter the outcome. No more having to “refrain.”
    Now I’m really out.
     
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  13. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    A couple of things.
    1. You say you are a sophomore. I am assuming that since the academic year has ended you mean you are a rising AS200, not a rising AS300.
    ~ If this is the case you need to realize that prior to going to SFT they will do a quick physical. Think a sports physical.
    ~ DoDMERB exams are only valid for 2 yrs., this means even if you are on scholarship your physical will not be valid which is one of the reasons why they do a "short" physical as part of the requirements for SFT. They may or may not note it during this physical, but the fact that you now are in receipt of xrays for this issue should be told to the doc during the exam.

    2. AFROTC will do a pre-commissioning exam sometime during your senior year, thus, it will come back up again. This one is called a "long" physical...eyes, ears, bp, etc, etc.
    ~ Now if this comes up because the doc found it and you never reported it, you will have 2 problems.
    ~~ A. You will need more exams, and a waiver.
    ~~B. If they find out that you withheld this info for the past 2 years they can kick you out of AFROTC right there and then because you hid this info. IOWS no commissioning for you! Pretty hard in multiple ways, emotionally of course, but also due to the fact that the final decision can come down @ 6-9 weeks prior to graduation.

    Think about it, if you knew 2 yrs in advance from commissioning day that by handing over those exams they could come back and say NOPE you are not qual'd, would your life be different? Yes, it would be impo. You would have used those last 2 yrs., getting internships and making connections so that during your senior yr you would have hopefully lined up a job earlier than 6-9 weeks prior to graduation. By waiting, now you are behind the power ball since your peers (non-ROTC) have been interning, interviewing, etc. for a long time.

    Now for the upbeat part.
    You state you think it is at a DQ level.
    ~A. You are not a doc. You know what the word ASSUME means, right? Well, you are assuming
    ~ B. Scoliosis is waiverable, especially for non-rated.
    ~~ My DH (AFROTC rated/retired) has scoliosis. It was caught during his pre-commissioning exam (fall senior yr)...see above comments about the fact you will have a pre-commissioning exam. They (AF) said he was over the limit. His curvature degree was stated by them as 23 degrees. His parents took him to a renown spinal specialist to fight the AF's exam. The doc was highlighted in People magazine for his work regarding scoliosis. The doc told them that by looking at the AF's xray he could see that he breathed while they did it, and that is why his curve was higher. They re-did it and the doc said he was 17 degree, 4 degrees below the limit at that time. The AF relented and accepted that docs report, no waiver was ever needed. In case you don't know fliers need to not only pass the AF DoDMERB commissioning exam, but also the FAA which has much higher levels to pass.
    ~~~ He served 21 yrs in an ejection seat airframe.

    My DS is an ADAF pilot (AFROTC grad). If you were my DS I would say tell the unit now for many reasons.
    First off is because you are suppose to be a leader and put the good of the AF before your own desires.
    ~ You might think that this is just AFROTC and no costs, but you would be wrong.
    ~~ SFT costs money. That short physical costs money. Flying you to SFT costs money
    ~~ POCs get a stipend whether or not on scholarship. That is money.
    ~ You not telling them and getting hit as an AS400 hurts your peers
    ~ Had you acknowledged it as an AS200, and if it went bad for you, that means you would not have gone to SFT.
    ~~ There is always this debate here about taking someone's scholarship. Your failure to report and knowing it, but not being found until your pre-commissioning exam equates to taking someone else's SFT slot. You knew.

    I get where you are coming from, which I believe is fear. However, as I stated before scoliosis is waiverable, especially if you get in front of it now. What is not going to be waiverable in their eyes...hiding the fact that you knew you have this medical condition, because on their eyes you lied on the DoDMERB.
     
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  14. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 5-Year Member

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    A couple of thoughts from a different perspective.

    1. Unless you had the most cursory DODMERB exam I am sure they would notice an curvature and annotate it whether you self reported or not in the medical history. I still have a copy from my DODMERB 22 years ago and they have stuff I never knew about. Scoliosis is a pretty common check. So check there first.

    2. If you were cleared by DODMERB and accessed into AFROTC I don't think they would even be the agency which you would contact. Not sure why any of the parents here would suggest that. Your records and commissioning physical are now done by the Air Force Medical command not DODMERB. As PIMA mentions you will do a physical at SFT and again upon commissioning that would be the time to bring this forward if the issue is not chronic or causing pain/limiting ability.

    3. We often say on this site don't self diagnose and that holds true. So don't self diagnose or worry yourself into anything. Get treated for issues that may cause pain and report honestly when you take physicals.

    4. Rather than go on anonymous websites and take advice from random folks many of whom have not been through the process find a good cadre member to get some advice. This seems like a great question for an NCO. I ran into medical roadblock I thought was insurmountable as a cadet and my cadre who were much wiser on how to navigate the army then I was as a cadet walked me through how to fill out the questionnaire honestly without self-diagnosing and 18 years later I am still serving. I am grateful to them daily for helping me through what at the time was an unfamiliar process. Seek them out and get their advice.

    Good luck!
     
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  15. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I will side with him that he doesnt remember every answer he gave on the paperwork. It is great that some people can remember all of the answers to a questionairre from 7 years ago. In my line of work I prepare lots of forms, dont remember most of them after I fill them out. I honestly couldnt remember if i completed my son college FAFSA forms for this upcoming school year (I did it in Oct). Hell, I cant remember what I ate for dinner 2 days ago. Having said that, I have to imagine that scoliosis is a big issue for him . So I would assume that he had to think about how he would the question when it came up. He is right, he has nothing to gain by lying on the forum as he is looking for advice. On other other hand, people do seem to go on the attack when on the internet, so too much information even anonymously, can bite you in the butt. My advice is you cant run away from this and if you are that close to being DQd, they will notice so you better be up front
     
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  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Does this mean you are just finishing your sophomore year, or that you will be starting you sophomore year this Fall, it makes a difference.

    If you have not started your sophomore year then I would make sure you have this cleared up before you start school in the fall. Once you start your sophomore year you are obligated and if they determine you were less then truthful on you Dodmerb, you could be on the hook for the cost of your scholarship to date.

    If you are completing your sophomore year then you're already obligated and I would still advise you clear things up so you don't cause yourself further financial problems.
     
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  17. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Not that I am disagreeing with you about remembering things, BUT in the military they keep all of those records from the minute you contract until after you leave, including your medical records, i.e. DoDMERB initial exam.
    ~ As an example there are several cadets here on this site that got disenrolled from AFROTC because as a senior in HS and probably due to fear they would be dq'd shade the amount of times they used marijuana only to come clean when they go up for their SFT or pre-commissioning exam. The problem is they never realized as an 18 yo that in 2 or 4 yrs from that time they would have to answer those questions again, and this time HQ AFROTC will pull out that original paperwork and compare it. Hence, when they see 2 times as an 18 yo, but now 4 times as a 20 yo they have to ask did you lie on the 1st exam or did you experiment as a cadet?

    You may say that is comparing apples with oranges, but it is not. As a cadet you are told that if anything changes medically you must inform them. IF his curvature has changed than he needs to tell them ASAP. (SEE ABOVE @ scoliosis maybe a DQ, but can be waived). Now if he hides it, but later on gets DQd, he can't submit those xrays as proof for a remedial. Why? Because he places himself in jeopardy since he never informed AFROTC that his medical condition changed while he was a cadet. They are going to pull his original DoDMERB where it states whether or not he was diagnosed with scoliosis after the age of 13. IMPO, and according to his post he was not diagnosed for his original DoDMERB since a 11 degree curve is not insane, but on the cusp, thus he could honestly have responded NO on the questionnaire, however, from here on out if that xray now shows him as having scoliosis he hid it from them, which is grounds for disenrollment.

    Just saying Bullet was honest and was ready to take the hit as a cadet and if he had to he would have had the time to fight for a waiver. Hiding it when you know you MAY need a waiver just puts you behind the 8 ball in my opinion. If you are a rising AS200, than you will do a short physical to make sure your shots are up to date, eyes, ears, no weight issues, etc, but if that doc thinks your right shoulder is sloping too much they may decide to TAG you. What then? SFT results come out in Feb. sometime. Paperwork comes down in early Mar (physicals and bag drag requirements, plus your MAX date).
    ~ Let's say it is caught and you have a Max 1 class date. It can take months to get a waiver. Meaning you will not go to Max 1 and maybe not at all because Max 6 occurs when your school is back in session. However, if you are upfront right now during the summer with your cadre they can start the waiver process and you will be good to go as soon as you get accepted for SFT because HQ AFROTC already knew of this medical condition.
    ~~ Honestly, if you think that your CoC will not support you for SFT due to this issue, I will disagree. You are not looking at surgery are you? Again, you are not a doctor and you don't know if the curvature is above or below the standards. CoC knowing that you want to go non-rated may just say OK, let's put you up for a waiver now. How competitive you are in the unit will matter more in their eyes. What position do you have? Have you maxxed the PFA? AFOQT score? Tech major?
    ~~~ Nobody knows what the SFT selection rate will be, but I will be honest right now regarding selection, it goes Tech/rated, non-tech/rated, tech/non-rated and finally non-tech/non-rated.

    Good luck and thank you for wanting to serve our country.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Brighter note!

    OBTW, I am a mgr for a national men's clothing company where I constantly fit men for suits. IMPO, every kid your age now has some curvature. The reason why is for your generation you would carry a ton of books to and home from school everyday in your backpacks. Most of you would throw it over one shoulder (cooler look), instead over your back (geek/nerd look), thus, one shoulder will slope due to this fact. IOWS, you no longer know how to stand straight because you have been for years naturally tilting to one side due to the weight of carrying 50lbs of books everyday. Your spine will curve during those teenage years due to you wanting to be cool.

    IOWS, your xray maybe wrong because you have forgotten how to stand straight.

    OH and yes, when they come into my store, I immediately mess with them regarding how they are standing and VOILA, the one arm that was longer is now equal, because I messed with their shoulders as they stand in front of the mirror. Just saying

    Big clue if you have a major curvature...stand straight, ask the folks to take a measuring tape (seamstress) under your arm from your armpit to your wrist bone on both sides. 1/4 - 1/2 inch difference is not a biggie.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  19. Humey

    Humey Member

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    My son was pictcher
    My son has been a baseball pitcher from the age of 9 to 18 when he finished varsity baseball. You can see the difference between his pitching arm (including shoulder) and his other arm. His pitching coach had the same issue. I would image all pitchers do.