By: Tim Studebaker

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Now that the 12 member soccer team and their coach have been rescued from that cave in Thailand, they are in the hospital and physically improving.  Going forward, the focus will now center on their mental health.

After spending two weeks inside that cave, health officials are now worried about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  ABC6 sat down with doctors at Bradley Hospital in East Providence to ask about the potential for long–lasting impacts.

Bradley Hospital Clinical Psychologist Dr. Alysha Thompson, PhD, says, “In the next month, we're really looking at an acute stress disorder.”

Dr. Thompson has never met the children herself, but she is able to speculate about some of the psychological issues they might be facing.

Dr. Thompson says, “Having what's called hypervigilance – that need to constantly check your back.  Also some re-experiencing symptoms, like having flashbacks or nightmares.”

She says symptoms like those that last more than a month could be signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which could be complicated by the fact that one of the rescuers died during rescue efforts.

Dr. Thompson says, “It's possible that this addition of the death in this situation may increase that guilt and shame.”

She believes that going through the experience as a group and practicing meditation while they were trapped may be a glimmer of hope for their future well–being, but every individual reacts differently in stressful situations.

Bradley Hospital Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Sibel Algon, MD says the children's past experiences can affect how they deal with this one.

Dr. Algon says, “One thing we would be trying to assess is looking backwards at which kids have risk based on what their life was like prior to this incident.”

Both doctors say it's in the best interest of those boys and their coach to let them get back to their daily lives and talk about it at their pace.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018