The 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were informed on Sunday of the sacrifice made by Petty Officer 1st Class Samarn Gunan, an ex-Navy SEAL who lost his life during the dramatic rescue operation at the Tham Luang cave complex on July 6.
Dr. Jessada Chokdamrongsuk, the public health permanent secretary, said doctors and psychiatrists looking after the young patients believed that they had been physically and mentally rehabilitated enough to be told of what happened to Samarn, who has been hailed as a hero.
They all broke down in tears upon being told of the sacrifice he made and together stood up in silence to pay tribute to Samarn. They also drew a picture of him to convey their condolences.
They also made a pledge to be good citizens to repay what Samarn and others did to save their lives. A video clip showing the young soccer players paying tribute to Samarn was also released on Sunday.
A royally sponsored cremation was held for Samarn in Roi-et on Saturday. His Majesty the King posthumously promoted Samarn to the rank of lieutenant commander – an unprecedented rise of seven ranks.
Dr. Jessada said the latest medical report from the director of Chiang Rai hospital showed all 12 patients making a gradual recovery. They are now allowed to have close contact with their visiting families.
The patients, who were rescued in a high-profile operation that captivated the world after being trapped for 17 days in Tham Luang cave, are scheduled to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday. But doctors have advised against exposing them to the media in the next month, fearing some could develop post-traumatic stress disorder.