MAE SAI, Thailand — Twelve young soccer players and their coach were recovering well Wednesday, a day after the last of them left the remote cave in Thailand where they had been trapped since late June, a Thai public health official said.
The official, Dr. Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, the top public health doctor for Thailand’s northern region, told reporters Wednesday that while some tests were pending, all of the boys and their 25-year-old coach were recovering swiftly under quarantine in a hospital in the city of Chiang Rai.
“None of them are stressed,” he added. “They took care of each other well in the cave.”
After arriving, conscious, at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital over the past few days, the boys received tetanus and rabies vaccinations as well as vitamins and antibiotics, Thongchai said. But he said they were in different stages of recovery because they had arrived in three separate groups, beginning Sunday.
Medical specialists worry that aside from physical ailments, the boys could experience anxiety, panic attacks, recurrent nightmares, phobias, or other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the short or long term. But as of Wednesday, Thongchai said, the boys were all sleeping normally and had not received any anti-anxiety medication.
“Their mental health condition is good, maybe because they stayed together and helped each other,” he said, even as tests showed the average weight loss for the group was about 4.4 pounds per boy. “Their coach was very good at managing this.”
Families of the first four boys to be rescued visited them Tuesday, wearing protective clothing and keeping a distance of about 6 feet at all times, he said. The second group’s families were due to arrive Wednesday.
Thongchai said the first group of boys, ages 14 to 16, had begun eating normal food and were now in “very good condition.” Two had contracted pneumonia in the cave but were getting better, he added, and a wound on one of the boys’ ankle had healed.
The second group of four boys, ages 12 to 14, were receiving antibiotics after blood tests showed high counts of white blood cells, a sign of infection, overexertion or exposure to cold, he said. But they were eating mild food as of Wednesday morning and might be able to eat normal food by the evening, he said.
As for the third group of four boys and the coach, one of them had mild pneumonia upon arriving at the hospital Tuesday, Thongchai said. He said blood samples had been taken from all five and would be sent for testing at a lab in Bangkok, the Thai capital.
Thongchai said the team would be monitored for two weeks, the second week at home, and that the boys are sharing the same room and can talk with each other from their hospital beds.