1. #1
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    Unhappy Academy problem... need help

    This is a long explanation but I'll try to keep it brief...

    I got hired on my dream department. I started the academy in April. Soon after I began to have severe calf pain and lost range of motion when I ran. My officers sent me to a clinic where I was diagnosed with calf strain (with no xrays, just the Dr's opinion). I had a modified workout different from my classmates. After some time off I was pain free and was able to run. This lasted for about a month then the problem returned.

    I went to see a sports doctor who did xrays and a bone scan. Both definitively showed multiple stress fractures on both lower legs. The Dr put me on no impact, no elliptical, swim/bike only, and no weight bearing over 25#. This means I'm not supposed to wear my airpack. If the fractures get worse, I'll have to have a rod inserted into my leg.

    I'm already certified by my state so my officers said my job is secure. Doesn't seem like a big deal right? Well now I've got classmates and some officers under the impression that my injury is a charade to get out of doing work. If I get better before we graduate it's really going to look like I was skating through the academy on easy street. Most likely I'll get held past graduation and be on light duty in a staff position while my classmates go to the stations. I'm really concerned that my problem will get out to the stations and I'll be labeled as the guy with "vaginitis" for the duration of my career.

    I was at another career department. I've fought a good deal of fire. I love the job and the hard work that goes with it. But ever since I've been at this current department and this academy it's been an uphill battle to prove I'm worth my salt because I've been injured most of the time. I've got broken legs for cryin' out loud!

    Any advice? Any thoughts? How can I salvage my reputation both at the academy and the stations? How can anyone know you're damn good when you can't do what everyone else does?

  2. #2
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    LadderMonkey,

    First off, what academy are you going through where you started in April and you still haven't graduated? Just curious? Most academies I know of last at max about 16 weeks. The academy I am going through is 12 weeks with two weeks of pre-academy and two weeks of post-academy. Anyways just curious. My advice to you is take care of your body first. That has to be your number one priority it really doesn't matter what your officers or classmates think if you disable yourself right now that could jeporidize your career further down the road. I am sorry for your dilemma that is a tough spot to be in no matter how you look at it, what I will tell you is that your classmates and officers will probably continue to bust your balls no matter what. Healthy or not it is just the nature of the business everyone in my class gets their balls busted by each other and our instructors. But, if these statements are vindictive maybe this department and your fellow recruits are not for you, it is probably a place that you wouldn't want to work for anyways. I know right know that there is not one guy in my academy that I wouldn't stand up for or do anything I could to keep him in academy. I don't know what they have taught you about teamwork and to always look out for each other, but it seems like they have turned their back on you and if that is the case there is something seriously wrong with that culture. Stand tall and do your best, take care of your body and get healthy, everything else will just fall where it was supposed too. The best of luck to you, stay safe and keep your head up. Remember this is a brotherhood and everyone looks out for each other, if you don't feel like your classmates don't have your back, find a new department there are plenty out there that embrace this concept and I'm sure they would enjoy you at their department.

  3. #3
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    BKDRAFT's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Horrible place to be in brother and I have never been in that position. Personally I would heal up and get back to work ASAP. You will have to prove yourself by your actions. You might have bad opinions out there about you already due to this but what can you do? You got injured. Now get healthy and prove you can do this job just as good if not better than anyone else.

  4. #4
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    You will get your butt busted for a bit but thats expected.
    Last edited by crankshaft; 10-10-2007 at 09:09 AM.

  5. #5
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    If you were at another career dept, why should you worry about it? Your history right there says something about you. You were able to complete one academy. Secondly, having been on another career dept, you should know that the rumors out of an academy don't really mean much. It is how you do the job once you are at your station.

    Firefighters are injured all the time, the most important thing is to heal up, you're no good to anyone broke down. You have the certifications, you done the job before, what really do you have to prove to the others? As long as you are there and being supportive of others, maintaining a good attitude, and doing what you can, you will be fine. Once you heal up and get on the floor, then actions speak louder than words.

  6. #6
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    I am familiar with your situation. When I was going through my FF I class about 1/2 of the way through I broke my leg in a non firefighting activity. After my injury I was in to much of a rush to get back to class and finish, to the point where I would do things that I very obviously shouldn't have been doing in that condition. It got to the point where my father sat down with me and explained that if I keep doing these things it could jepordize(sp) the rest of my career and that i needed to just settle down and wait. I would still go to the class' and take part in the lecture I was just unable to participate in the practicle portions.

    Luckly for me I talked to my lead instructor and he told me not to worry about it, I'm at the top of my class and he wouldn't let this keep me from finishing. Hopefully your instructors are the same and will work with you and not against you.

  7. #7
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    Wink Does it Matter.

    I believe in the Fire Service were all brothers, and what do brothers do ... well at least mine at the station ... pick on each other. In the End it dosent matter who got the easy ride or the hard ride, we all take the ride together. Take your time, Heal and become useful to the rest of your crew when your at 100% again. However, just be cautious of one thing ... if you can't pull me out of the building when i need it then you need to take a close at capabilities and your dedication to the service.

    Other than that don't worry about your brother's hazing it should be all fun in games.

    good luck -brother
    Last edited by pletch; 09-09-2007 at 11:33 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8

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    Default A Possible Solution

    You're definitely in a tough spot but you do have some options!! It's easy to say "go somewhere else", or "don't worry about it" but that won't solve your problem. You obviously like the department or you wouldn't be posting. Furthermore, you can't expect people to take lightly that they have to work harder than you, no matter what the reason. If I were in your situation, I would organize a workout 2 to 3 times a week outside of your academy training that involves swimming or the other activities which the Dr. recommends. And let your class know constantly that you are doing them, and would like for your classmates to join you! Get two or three guys to commit and then tell everyone, "Hey, some of us are heading to the pool today, or hitting the bikes so I can get in a good workout, would any of you like to come?" If a couple come and see you working hard in the pool or on a bike...those are the guys who can silence the rumor. It will also give you some more time around them so you can prove your not just skimping. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for all the advice. It's really helped me. I've got another Dr appointment in less than 2 weeks so hopefully I'll get some good news.

    As a side note, another fellow cadet with the same problem I have was terminated earlier this week. The only difference between my level of restrictions and his was what we could/couldn't do on the fireground.

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