How to Properly Screen a Ranger Physical

This post will momentarily take a different direction. It doesn’t have anything to do with improving your medical skills. But, it has everything to do with ensuring your Soldiers successfully get through medical in-processing and into Ranger School. That will make them happy, it will make your boss happy, and it will help you earn that Soldier’s trust.

Most Ranger Physicals are Not Performed Properly

It may seem like this post is not needed. I assure you that it is. My team screens more than 1000 Ranger physicals each year. Typically, 85-95 percent have a deficiency. It’s the same at Ranger School. And the result is that a lot of Soldiers get a game-day decision on their packet as to whether or not they can begin training. Don’t leave it up to chance. Soldiers get turned around and sent home all the time.

So, I recommend that you use this matrix to check the physical of the prospective Ranger Student in your unit before he/she goes. Or, give it to him/her to check on their own. The link for download is directly below. Ensure all of the labs are completed, and also that they are within limits.

Ensure The Soldier Does Not Require A Waiver

Next, ensure that the Soldier doesn’t have any disqualifying conditions. If the Soldier has never had any medical problems, has never taken any chronic medications, has no limitations, and has never had a hot or cold weather injury–> then they’re probably “good to go” and can stop here. Otherwise, you will want to reference a couple of regulations.

AR 40-501 details the requirements in Chapter 5 regarding Ranger Physicals. When chapter 5 references “accession standards,” it is referring to the DoDI 6303.03. This is the initial entry standards for all services. If they have any of these conditions, then you must submit for a waiver. See the two references below. These are also listed in the “Policies and Regulations” page of the site.

Medication Use While at Ranger School

Soldiers are not allowed to take any chronic medications at Ranger School (Only medicines prescribed at the Aid Stations while already in Ranger School are allowed). Daily medications are not allowed, or the condition has to be such that the Soldier can go without the medications during Ranger School (they probably require a waiver for that condition also).

Hot or Cold Weather Injury History

If the Soldier has had a hot or cold weather injury, then they cannot attend during the hot (April – October) or cold (October – April) months, respectively. The Ranger School website defines this on their page, for reference. They are very strict about this. This also often includes heat related rhabdomyolysis.

Find out information about how to submit for a waiver on their website.

Please share this page with your friends so we can help others, too. Too many physicals are wrong, and I’m looking to correct this.

Want to learn something I haven’t covered? Send me an email! I want to teach what you want to learn.

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This content is the author’s opinion alone and does not necessarily reflect the opinion, official position, or stance of the Department of Defense, or any other branch of the United States Military.

Published by Medic Mentor

An Army PA seeking to share knowledge and skills to medics in order to better prepare them for the next fight, and to bridge the gap between future expectations and initial entry training. These posts are samples of similar training I share with my own medics, and are made available here to a wider audience. I am no expert. There are others more qualified, I'm sure. I am simply looking to contribute. Feel free to provide feedback and leave comments to help others.

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