Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Tourette Diagnosis As A Child


I recently read another question about being diagnosed with Tourette syndrome that you had answered, and look forward to your advice regarding my grandson. I will try to describe his predicament as succinctly as possible. I'll call him E.

E began his enlistment into the Navy in March 2014. As a juvenile, E broke both arms about 18 months apart and has Titanium pins in both. He was told he needed a statement from an orthopedist stating he has full range of motion and strength before he could be considered for the Navy. He submitted a full set of x-rays on a disk and the required statement. The recruiter was not able to read the disk. He then went to another facility who could furnish a "film x-ray" and report from their film. Keep in mind, E does not have insurance so the entire cost is out of pocket. He was next asked to submit the original medical records from 2006 and 2007. The records were ordered and 2 weeks later received.

Forward to July 2014, four months into the process. E is finally ready to go to MEPS. Once there, he completed the process but was told he needs two additional documents. It seems the statement from the orthopedist also mentioned a head injury as a child. A statement was needed from a parent or guardian explaining the occurrence. Lastly, the recruiter had failed to see the medical reports only addressed the right arm not both.  Upon contacting his father about the head injury statement, his father told him he'd been seen at two different facilities for his arms. He contacted the second hospital and requested the original medical records on the left arm. Those records were received this past Saturday and submitted to the recruiter yesterday. Presumably the recruiter faxed them to MEPS without reading the report which read in part, "The patient also has a history of Tourette. The patient had been taking medicines for Tourette, but he is not on them at this time."

Because of the stigma attached to the word Tourette, E is afraid, and we as his grandparents too, the MEPS' doctor will look at this negatively even though he scored a 75 on his ASVAB and was being considered for a National Security Position. His recruiter was not very encouraging when advised of the oversight. If he is disqualified, what are his options with the Navy? Lastly and as a last resort, can he start over with another branch of the military?

Thank you for your service to our country and to the young men and women who are in need of your expert advice.

Sorry to hear that your grandson has found a lazy recruiter.  He’s waiting for someone else (M EPS) to do his job for him.  Lets hope  the  MEPS  doctor reads more closely than the recruiter.   When MEP says NO it becomes more difficult, but not  impossible..

It may be possible that E was misdiagnosed as a child.  There are NO specific medical or screening tests that can be used in diagnosing Tourette's;.  I[t is frequently misdiagnosed, partly because of the wide expression of severity, ranging from mild (the majority of cases) or moderate, to severe (the rare, but more widely recognized and publicized cases).  Coughing, eye blinking, and tics that mimic unrelated conditions such as asthma are commonly misdiagnosed..  I’d be curious as to what medicine E was given.  There is NO medicine for Tourettte’s.  There is however medicine for ADHD (Ritalin) hat controls some of the tics.
The diagnosis is made based on observation of the individual's symptoms and family history,  and after ruling out secondary causes of tic disorders  In patients with a typical onset and a family history of tics or obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), a basic physical and neurological examination may be sufficient.
Children diagnosed with Tourette’s usually outgrow it  by the time they are a teenager.
So even if E. was diagnosed correctly, he’s probably outgrown it.
The reason I say a lazy recruiter is because he’s probably already reached his annual quota for recruits and is just biding his time until the new quotas come out  on I October.
Come 1 Oct  he’ll be bending over backwards and working his tail off to get a good man into the Navy.

So my advice to you is to be proactive . Assume you’ve been disqualified by MEPS and get a letter from your doctor saying you are no longer on medication and have been off it for X amount of months.  (The longer the better.)  THEN wait until 2 October before doing  ANYTHING.  THEN go see your recruiter ang give him your doctor’s letter.  He in turn will begin the appeal process to get you a waiver from the Surgeon General .

Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to wait until  2  Oct.  before doing ANYTHING.  I know it’s difficult but it’s only 4 weeks, and you’ve been waiting  at least 5  months.

Colonel H

PS.  Be sure and let me know how it goes.

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




All military questions, any Service. 30 years experience & two Ph.D.'s. 4 times Base Commander. Worked with Army, Navy, USMC, USCG and several foreign military units. Veteran of Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and 10 civil wars in Africa.


Air Force Colonel with 30 years experience. Air Force Base Commander 4 times. Highly decorated.

Org of Am Historians, Wild West History Assoc., Disabled American Veterans - Life Member, Am Motorcyclist Assoc. - Life Member, North Am Hunt Club - Life Member, NWTF - Life Member

Numerous book reviews published in the Journal of American History. Two books submitted for publication. Co-Author of two more. Eisenhower memorial Library (interview with U.S. Presidential chaffeur

Ph.D. in military history, Columbus University (Summa Cum Laude) Ph.D. in history, London, England (Summa Cum Laude) Master of Arts degree in history, Marshall University, WV Bachelors degree, double-major in history and mathematics, Salem College, WV Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

Awards and Honors
Legion of Merit, Defense MSM, 5 Meritous Service Medals,Joint Commendation Medal AF Commendation Medal Army Commendation Joint Achievement Medal AF Achievement Medal Outstanding Volunteer Medal Total of 33 Medals and 43 Ribbons

©2017 All rights reserved.