Watch CBSN Live

Once the cameras are off, how could the cave ordeal affect Thai soccer team?

Rescued Thai soccer team could face PTSD
Rescued Thai soccer team could face PTSD 03:13

As the Thai soccer team that was trapped in a cave for more than two weeks heads home from the hospital, they could still face potential physical and psychological challenges. Despite looking like normal teenage boys at Wednesday's press conference – the first time we'd heard them speak about the harrowing event – Dr. Jon LaPook told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday he's worried about how the boys' mental states could change down the road, when they're no longer in the spotlight.

"Right now they're in emergency mode still. The adrenaline is flowing, the cortisol is flowing, but weeks or months or even longer than that later when they're quiet, when the press isn't around, when they're not getting all this attention, they are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, of course PTSD," LaPook said.

Anything from darkness, feeling cold or swimming could trigger memories of their time in the cave and their rescue, LaPook warned. But they do have youth on their side, which could help them in the long run.

Thai soccer players apologize to parents 02:33

"Being young is often good because you're more resilient, you're physically stronger, but it certainly doesn't immunize you from any kind of problem," he said. "When they get home, they may be a little more clingy, they may be afraid of the dark and they may have anxiety about, could this happen again? Something could remind them of this."

One other worry: guilt. During Wednesday's news conference, the boys expressed their deep gratitude and sadness about the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL who died during the rescue mission.

"I do worry about when it gets calmer, when the lights are off, that they might start feeling some guilt about that," LaPook said. "What a story for the world at a time when there's a lot of friction." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.