The youth soccer team which spent 17 days trapped in a cave in Thailand recently made an appearance on the “The Ellen Show” to share the story on how they survived.
Head coach Ekapol “Aek” Chantawong and the 12 players from the Wild Boars soccer team spoke with host Ellen DeGeneres via a translator on her show this past Monday.
During the short interview, the coach and the boys shared how they remained calm after they realized they were trapped in the cave in Chiang Rai, a city in northern Thailand.
“They weren’t scared and they always had hope,” Chantawong said in Thai. “They knew if they didn’t come out, eventually someone would have to come in and get them out anyway.”
They explained that while they intended to stay in the cave for just one hour, the flooded exits trapped them inside for over two weeks. To survive, the boys revealed that they were forced to drink water running down the sides of the cave as the groundwater was muddy.
When DeGeneres asked what kept them calm throughout the whole ordeal, members of the team said they used meditation.
“When they meditate, they remain calm so they can conserve energy while in the cave,” Chantawong said.
They noted that they did not get much continuous sleep and were only able to doze off from time to time.
To ensure a safe rescue, the boys were sedated by the rescuers before they were brought to safety through the flooded passages.
According to Chantawong, none of them remembered that they were actually being rescued while sedated.
In the interview, the boys revealed that they did not realize that their plight was already making the international news as the world watched in anticipation of their safe rescue.
“Inside the cave, they didn’t know anything, but they knew a lot of people were watching and supporting them when they got to the hospital,” Chantawong noted.
Near the end of the segment, DeGeneres surprised the team with a visit from Zlatan Ibrahimović of the LA Galaxy, one of the boys’ favorite soccer players.
“These kids, I thought I was brave, but these kids, this team is braver than me and they show the collective teamwork and patience and belief in (each) other,’‘ Ibrahimović said. “This is probably the best team in the world.”
After praising the boys for their courage and team spirit, Ibrahimović invited them to a practice with his team and even gave them VIP tickets to an upcoming game.
Featured image via YouTube/ theEllenShow