The coach of the young soccer team trapped inside a flooded Thai cave for more than two weeks starved himself to keep his 12 young players alive, it has been revealed.
As people across Thailand celebrate the remarkable rescue mission to save the group, the team’s young coach faces a long recovery.
Coach ‘Ekk’, as he is known, is the weakest of all, having starved himself to keep his young brood as strong as possible.
Health officials said the team remains quarantined behind plate glass, all sporting sunglasses to shield their now light-sensitive eyes after so many days and nights in the darkness.
Most have lost around two kilograms each, and some have fluid on the lungs.
There is ongoing interest in the boys’ condition, with news agencies from across the world cramming into Chiang Rai hospital.
From Thailand to the Twittersphere, the world watched on in awe as the rescue mission began, spanning three consecutive days to bring all 12 boys and Coach Ekk out alive.
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The hashtag ‘Hooyah’ went viral online, used by the Thai Navy SEALS online as a celebratory phrase when posting updates about the mission.
Since the rescue, Tham Luang cave is becoming a tourist attraction and Hollywood directors have already started scouting for Wild Boars: The Movie.
At the Wild Boars soccer shed, the club’s head coach said he knew nothing of the team’s forays into the cave, while others who knew them had feared the worst.
Chiang Rai’s governor said the cave rescue is the first of its kind – and the rest of the world is hoping it’s the last.