Would I be okay, need a medical waiver, or disqualified from serving?

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by jeagle, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. jeagle

    jeagle New Member

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    Hello. I was looking to see if I would be okay, disqualified or can obtain a medical waiver for my medical history. I will be applying for JAG (no branch specific, I just wanna be a JAG) but wanted to know before I went through the process if I would able to join.

    In November of 2016, collided with another soccer player and got the symtoms of a concussion a while after the game. This was my 3rd concussion. One in 2012, and one in 2013. All for soccer. For each concussion, I never lost consciousness, no amnesia and all brain scans I got says my brain has not changed (considered mild head injuries as a result). During my third concussion, my recovery time took a bite longer than my other ones because I was not able to get the rest I needed due to when I got it. I couldn't rest enough because it was around finals so I got some headaches (not cluster headaches, migraines, or anything more than a basic headache) that continued.

    Since I was tired and had headaches, my concentration was somewhat off. I usually had grades around a 3.68 but that semester I didn't do well on finals and end up with a 3.5 gpa. I talked with my doctor during my normal concussion evaluation from her and we came up with a treatment plan. I participated in a ton of clubs, was a RA in college, among other things. My doctor said I needed to rest and cut down on what I do (no medicine was suggested). Once I cut down on the stuff I did, the headaches went away because I was able to get proper rest. (Around 7 hours as opposed to the 5-6 I would normally get every night). Around finals, since I was double major, I had a ton of work and sleep suffered. I would some heachaches. Idk if it had to do with staying up two nights in a row and living on Red Bull or my concussions. My doctor is not a neurologist, rather a pediatrician, just thought that it was related to the concussions. She did recommend that I go to a neurologist if the problem began to affect my daily life but it never has. I got testing accommodations for finals so I would at least be able to get some sleep. I could survive around them without them but the doctor and I thought it would be a good precaution and to not inhibit my preformance.

    After finals were done, the problem went away because I would get proper sleep (around 7 hours most nights). I do volunteer for a first aid squad and have done volunteer shifts overnight in highly stressful situations and my volunteering has not been impacted. The interruption did not cause a problem because it was not every night I would be volunteering. I was able to return to my normal life and survived working 13 hour days with no issues. It was just around finals I got them because I just didn't sleep at all and my recommendation of making sure I got sleep made my life return to my prior status. Now that I got accommodations (some extra time and small 5-10 breaks, purpose of accommodations was to optimize my preformance) they allow me to get some sleep, I really don't have that issue. It’s easily controlled. I do understand that recurring headaches are an issue but I'm not sure how they define recurring. I do have a family history of migraines but that is a separate issue my family has. My brother was diagnosed with the family issue when in the third grade. I have not had that issue they had. Mine is separate.


    Thank you for reading this.
     
  2. THParent

    THParent Member

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    No idea. You say JAG, but not branch-specific (so it could be Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard - Or "JAD" in the Marine Corps).
    There are enlisted positions and officer positions in all those, but you don't say if you want to go the officer route or not.
    You also don't say that you finished college, or are still in college. If you finished college, you could try Officer Candidate School as a way to commission, or you could enlist.
    It all depends on whether or not you want to be an Attorney, or a paralegal (in the Army, that would be a Specialist E-4 position, for instance) for JAG.
    In short, not enough information.
    DoDMERB requirements (what is deemed a DQ or not) are widely different from branch to branch - as are the waivers allowed by each branch for said DQs - so the branch can be of key importance here.

    From a medical in-processing point of view (and I am NOT a doctor, by the way) the generic "military" cares more about what a doctor has diagnosed in the past and present, more than any anecdotal information that you have.
    If you are prone to getting headaches if you don't get 7 or more hours of sleep every night (and those headaches adversely affect your effectiveness) then be prepared to not get 7 or more hours of sleep every night in the military. This would be especially true if you were going through "basic training" as an enlisted recruit or OCS/TBS as an officer candidate. That kind of sleep just isn't going to happen right away.
    Also, if you have a family history of migraines - you have to report that - as that will be one of the questions you must answer. The concussions are a factor as well, and are reported on the initial medical questionnaire.

    The only sure way to know, is to start the process.
     
  3. jeagle

    jeagle New Member

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    Thank you for replying. To make it more specific, I want to go in for Air Force JAG as an Attorney. I have graduated college already and I am starting law school in the fall. Wanted to start the ROTC path as a 2L. The 7 hours of sleep is not something required, more suggested on my end. I have survived with way less. My doctor only said to continue to get sleep and all headaches I get are easily controlled by an OTC, but I use that as a last straw situation. My doctor has not diagnosed my problem as having any relation to my family but of course I will still have to report. The main concern what my doctor wants is not for me to pull multiple all nighters. That's why the accommodations are specific for finals.
     
  4. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    jeagle -- If you are going to try the ROTC route then you will go through DoDMERB

    Here is a link to the document DoDMERB will use to determine whether you a medically qualified or "DQ" (DoDMERB performs this function Service Academy and ROTC applicants for all Services but they are NOT the medical waiver authority. They just make the determination whether you are medically qualified or not):

    http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/613003p.pdf?ver=2018-04-09-114201-123

    Pages 42 and 43 I believe are applicable to your condition. I am not a doctor so I will not try and interpret, but if you are determined to be DQ by DoDMERB, then I believe the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Surgeon General will be the medical waiver authority that will determine whether to grant a medical waiver.

    I'm assuming you plan to try to become an AF JAG through the process at this link:

    https://www.airforce.com/careers/sp...gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CO32s82OkNwCFe6_swodP3QC0A

    If so, this is a bit of a different process than "normal" AFROTC

    You might try using the search tool in the upper right hand corner to see if you can find other older threads where conditions like yours was discussed.

    Best wishes to you
     
  5. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    jeagle -- one other thought -- if the medical qualification route becomes to difficult, you might inquire about becoming an AF civilian attorney -- just a thought.
     
  6. MabryPsyD

    MabryPsyD Dr. G. 5-Year Member

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    The military (all branches) take mTBI (concussion) very seriously. Three documented mTBIs might not seem like much to you, but it made me wince a little. Headaches, lack of sleep, etc “might” be something that is too much to overcome for commissioning. Migraines render a person combat ineffective (yes, I know you want to be a lawyer - you’re still considered a combatant). Of the special branches, JAG is the only “fighter” per the Geneva Convention.

    Suggestion: look into Army JAG. “Generally” speaking, the Army has more lax medical requirements for commissioning. It might be easier to get a waiver.

    Best of luck with your legal career.
     
  7. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    While there are stricter medical standards for certain careers [pilot etc] I do not think you can get a 'duty specific' [or 'desk duty' etc] waiver upon entry into military service.

    What I am trying to say in layman's terms is that just because you want to declare JAG now you still must be eligible to same DoDMERB standards as anyone else. Remember that in times of crisis the service can and will deploy anyone anywhere as the needs of the service dictate - they cannot have junior officers who are unable to serve due to medical restrictions.

    Soooo - if a concussion waiver is feasible you probably don't have any better chance of getting one just because of your expressed interest in JAG.

    Not trying to flame you; just an objective perspective on how the service would view this if a waiver is needed.

    Good luck and thanks for being willing to serve !!
     
  8. jeagle

    jeagle New Member

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    Thanks for everyone's responses. I'm going to be trying for the Graduate Law Program through the Air Force and go from there because I can apply as a 1L. Everyone gave some good insight to think about. The guides were great.

    Midwestdad, yes that was what I was asking about, that it is medically easier to get in the Air Force than specifically flying a plane.

    I talked with a Marine recruiter about there program and he was saying if I could prove the stuff I was saying about how my issue specifically bothers me, not daily life, rather just when I go multiple nights in a row without sleep, and nights of getting a few hours of sleep do not bother me. Since I get headaches and not migraines, he was saying that he believes that it wouldn't prevent me.

    Thanks again for everything.