After completing the ASVAB and TAPAS the next step is the physical. Most recruiters will have your child complete the physical and enlist the same day, as long as there is no indications he might not complete the physical that day. For brevity sake we are going to assume these two things are happening at different times.
Prior to taking the physical the applicant will complete DD form 2807-2 which is a report of the applicants complete medical history. It is incredibly important not to withhold anything, no matter how trivial you or them might think it is. If the applicant withholds or lies on the form and it is discovered that recruiter along with anyone else who might have dealt with the applicant comes under investigation which in medical issues can be a career ending thing. Most issues can be worked, you just have to inform us of them.
If the 2807-2 is clean the applicant will proceed to the physical.
If it’s not a pre-screen will need to be done. Medical issues are so large there is no way I could cover everything that might or could arise. For our example we will assume the applicant is clean but had an ACL surgery 3 years ago. The applicant would need to mark that on the form and then provide his recruiter with every document from the doctor for the issue. This includes any ER records, initial visit, pre-op report, surgery report, post-op report, and all follow-ups until the all clear is given.
Pay attention here, notice I said ALL records. Bring everything, if only half the records get brought nothing will be done until everything is brought. It’s frustrating for everyone when the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) keeps requesting more documents because the applicant has failed to turn everything in.
Once a pre-screen is complete the CMO can either authorize the applicant to proceed (no restrictions), authorize a physical only to speak with the applicant and determine the extent of the condition, state a waiver is needed and submit to the Command Surgeon, or disqualify the applicant from service.
Physical: the physical is actually a pretty easy thing but there are a few things to highlight. The applicant will do a urine test, have blood drawn, do height and weight, and speak to the doctor. There are also a few specific things that will be done. One is the duck walk, which is the applicant will crouch down like a catcher and take a few steps maintaining that position. The applicant will need to be able to stand from a knees on the ground positron without he use of their hands.
After completing the physical the applicant will have a PULHES assigned. Information on that can be found at the link https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PULHES_Factor
PULHES numbers run 0-4. A 0 means the PULHES is “open” and the applicant will need a consult, more on that in a minute. A 1 is optimal meaning no restrictions. A 2 means still qualified, small limitation such as wearing glasses. A 3 means the applicant is disqualified from service for a condition, but may be granted a waiver. A 4 means the applicant is permanently disqualified with no waiver authorized.
If the applicant needs a consult he will need to go back to MEPS at a later time to be taken to see a specialist. For example someone with a 0 in “S” might need to see the physiologist.
During the consult one of three things can happen. The doctor can clear the condition with no conditions. The doctor can submit a waiver to the Command Surgeon or the doctor can say the applicant is disqualified. If a waiver is needed a wait will happen, currently for the Army about a week after a consult.
Medical is so deep I could write a novel on it and still not cover everything. This is a real quick idea of how the process goes and what is happening.