28 yr old injured during combatives training on Active Duty, not service connected and unfit to continue service in the Reserves


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Hello Everyone,

Summary at the bottom if you don't want to read.

I was attending my Army basic officer course in 2017 and incurred an injury during combatives training. A guy who is still my friend today was about 200lbs to my 150lbs and slammed me pretty hard hurting my back. I was laid out for two weeks, not able to work and barely move enough to use the bathroom. I went to the MTF at Ft. Gordon about 5 times, getting loads of painkillers, steroids, and even acupuncture where they put gold pins in my ears. I was diagnosed with every form of back pain imaginable during this time - radiculopathy (Lumbar Region), Dorsalgia, and Sciatica but never received an LOD because I was told Reserve members do not get them. Being so new, (Stupid butter bar) I took that as OK and Soldiered on but kept all of my medical documentation from the time saying I was injured during combatives. I've been to airborne and air assault courses since and have jumped from aircraft over 20 times in the past two years leading to increased problems from repeated impacts.

Every year since the injury (and sometimes multiple times a year), I have had to go to civilian doctors to get treated for pain until eventually I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed a degenerative disk and prescribed physical therapy. I'm 28 years old. The therapy has really helped manage the pain, and compared to some people here I am extremely lucky, but I have occasional flare ups where I am immobilized in bed for days at a time per year. So, in my annual periodic health assessment, I let the doctor know what was going on and they recommended I seek out a profile. I agreed, even though I usually do really well on my physical tests (300+ on the APFT), I wanted to make sure this problem was on my record for when I eventually do get out.

So, I submitted my profile request to the Army Reserve Medical Management Center using the recommendations from my physical therapist and orthopedic surgeon. The nurse case manager came back saying the injury was not service connected because I was only diagnosed with "pain" from the MTF from the combatives incident. In addition, they now want to kick me out of the military because I am no longer fit to serve. I actually want to stay in the Army and love leading soldiers, but do not want to mess my body up further and my injury is permanent.

Summary: I got injured during combatives on Active Duty and have had 5 years of honorable service in the Reserves jumping out of planes leading to a degenerative disk at 28 years old and the Army is telling me to kick rocks and get out with my broken self and it's not their fault.

Do I have no recourse? I am at a loss and so far this process has been nothing but ostracizing.

Thank you everyone for this community, your service, and helping others.


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I'm not sure what is going on in the guard/reserves with LOD, but it is clearly wrong. Never let go of the medical documentation! Safeguard it.


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Ron, Charlie, Tony:

Thank you for your feedback! I wasn't aware that this may be CRSC eligible, thank you for that information. I was just blown away when the nurse came back saying this wasn't service connected. I have a clearly documented injury from a MTF while on active duty during a training exercise and years of medical treatment for the same injury.

Do you recommend I seek out military counsel or outside of military counsel? Mr. Perry is outside counsel, but I have seen others say he is really tough to get in touch with. I'm also poor and have never had a lawyer before. I understand they can be quite expensive, but so can medical treatment for the rest of my life.

Thank you!
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