ACL Reconstruction - Medically unfit to become an officer

Discussion in 'Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC' started by Timbo, Jul 15, 2004.

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  1. Can anyone explain why it is that if you have had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (ACL) you are immediately categorised as unfit for service and unable to go forward to RMAS for Officer training?

    My son has been rejected, despite being Captain of the School 1st XV and a County player - surely he could handle the physical side of the training?
  2. This is not the official answer but my experience in witnessing these ops has seen the incumbents having problems at later dates. It leaves the knee weakened and susceptable to further injuries/problems.

    You have to remember that the regime of the Army plays havoc on the knees, especially combat fitness tests etc.

    Is this answer from the ACIO?

    On a cynical note, considering the treatment dished out to the forces at present, perhaps it is better to consider an alternative career!
  3. Re career - He still has youth, enthusiasm and optimism on his side!

    A report by senior knee specialists (I found on the net) looking at ACLs and servicemen indicated 90% got back to full fitness aftter the op.

    The procedure has come on hugely in the last few years.

    I assume serving soldiers aren't discharged if they have to have an ACL?
  4. I served time on the Y-list (sick Platoon) at Sandhurst, if there is any way round such a decision, get several proffesional opinions, and barrage the authorities with your evidence.

    Cant guarantee it will work, but have seen it work in some cases.

    I was eventually discharged for a neck of femur stress fracture, but am now commissioned in the TA, and could go back to regular sandhurst
  5. Serving soldiers still "stag on" after the Op. As said previously, bombard them with Consultants advice. Also suggest possible review by a Consultant, try a big name one, lots of articles to his name etc!

    Hopefully it will work, just ignore my cynicism :roll:

    Best of luck!
  6. Further to advice already given about big gun consultants.

    The army has some civvy ones who are sort of kept on retainers by the Army.

    I know the names of two who Sandhurst med centre send people to see if injured at Sandhurst.

    One of them originally told me he wanted to operate on my leg, then when shown a clean bone scan about 2yrs later, said he had no problems with me joining the TA.
  7. It seems suprising that today many top class sportsmen are still playing at the top level following ACL reconstructions - for example Rob Howley - arguably the best scrum half in the UK, Dallaglio, Roy Keane.

    On that basis it would seem that ACL doesn't mean the end - so why preclude youngsters from joining, without giving them a chance?

    Does the Army ever review it's rules? How does it get onto the agenda?
  8. JJ

    JJ Swinger

    was he ruled out straight away???or did he go for selection??i was told to provide a report from my doctor before my application could continue...
  9. I know it seems unfair, but remember that for each of those you name there are a bunch more who have had to back out of their sports following an ACL operation. From the Army's perspective, at a time when we are not having difficulty getting the numbers of POs we need, of really good quality, applying, it makes sense to reduce higher risk entrants.

    The advice from dui-la and Pensioner is good. If your son presses his case, and demonstrates real commitment to getting in, then it should cause the system to reconsider. In any event, it can do no harm and he might succeed. I'd suggest the initiative should come from him rather than you for maximum effect.

    Good luck. Who is he seeking to join?

  10. Thanks Don,
    The conclusion to a report written by a number of eminent knee specialists on ACL reconstruction in Service patients was that 19% made a full return to occupational activities within 6 months and 90% by 1 year. Consequently is it such a significant risk to the army to accept youngsters who have previously had the op, and are performing at a decent level in sports, to attempt the training. Ultimately if they are unable to complete the course they are out of the army anyway - so no liability.
    The boy will press his case himself through the official channels, but clearly he is somewhat discouraged by the official line (in writing) that under current rules he will be unable to join, even if he passes through stages 1&2 RCB. In your experience can personal lobbying bend/break the rules?
    I think he's hoping for the LI - but they don't know yet!

  11. JJ
    He recieved a rejection letter from the Medical Staff at Westbury saying that he was unfit to go to pre RCB, even though he had a place booked. The letter includes an appeals procedure, which he followed and was reinstated on the course, with the proviso that unless the regs changed he would still not be able to attend RMAS, even if he passed RCB proper.
  12. I know it sounds really wet, but if one of the 10% ascribes the fact that he doesn't make a full recovery to his army training, then we become liable for all sorts of telephone figure payments. Trust me, we are so broke at the moment that this makes a difference. And it can take more than a year to get agreement to a medical discharge, which screws things up for the individual and is not something the Army likes to enter into.

    The good news is that there are quite a few servicemen and former servicemen in the recruiting system who understand that guidance is just that. If your son can get one of them to consider making an exception, then he's in with a chance. If he isn't already known to the Light Division, then his best bet is probably the regional officer recruiting liaison officer. I don't know the current title but your ACIO can help, or a helpful soul might post it on this thread. Get your son to write to him, explaining why he's a safe bet and asking for an interview to make his case. The worst that can happen is that he says no. If he gets an interview, and the officer is not an anally retentive type, then your son will at least get a crack.

    Good luck again

  13. I'd not noticed one part of your post: If the door is open to him going to RCB, notwithstanding the reservation about training at Sandhurst, then he should leap at it. Even though he starts at a disadvantage given the medical factor, he does get the opportunity to make his pitch to serving military officers who are pretty good. He'll also get, at least, an indication from the staff as to whether he is in the running, ACL aside.

    Off to Westbury with him!

  14. Is your son still at school, on a gap year, or going to University?

    The reason i ask is that if going to Uni, there is a chance he could get into an OTC, as although the standards are the same, sometimes they may be a little more lenient. In this way he could show the Army over 3/4 years that he can handle some aspects of the training, and in that time the standards may change, therefore allowing him to go to RCB, with no problems
  15. Gap year - rugby in NZ! Then university. What a life. :!:

    Boy was originally sponsored for a sixth form scholarship, but his injury, at that time thought to be relatively minor, precluded him from attending.

    Now he's trying for sponsorship through uni, consequently if he gets thru his pre RCB he would do the full board on his return from New Zealand.

    My feeling is that he should probably concentrate on getting thru RCB, which is obviously a big hurdle in itself, and then from the comments on the thread, go all out with medical reports and statements and see if he can earn himself a chance.

    He wouldn't get to RMAS until late 2008, so maybe if he chips away at the issue they'll let him in on the basis of his commitment :lol: