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Young Muay Thai fighters exposed to irrepairable brain damage

The Thaiger & The Nation



Young Muay Thai fighters exposed to irrepairable brain damage | The Thaiger

A swirling kick to the head, followed by some more leaps, direct head punches and dodges. The very Thai sport of Muay Thai is coming under increased examination, especially for younger fighters where evidence is emerging of irrepairable brain damage and developmental issues. Critics say that greedy parents and money is driving many youngsters into a dangerous sporting environment.

“The study showed brain damage and memory loss, as well as a high risk of neurological disorders among young fighters compared to their non-fighting peers.”

With cheers and the promise of money attracting some 200,000 under-15s to go into Muay Thai, human-rights and health advocates are raising concerns about the violation of their rights and the possible impact punches and kicks may have on their brain development.

As chair of the National Human Rights Commission’s panel on the elderly, disabled, children, education and public health, Chatsuda Chandelling says the issue required prompt action because such competitions – in which the young fighters get paid for boxing – fell within the frame of child labour and abuse. She claims the 1999 Boxing Act should be amended so it is in line with the 2003 Child Protection Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to ensure the protection of children.

She also cited a study conducted by Ramathibodi Hospital’s Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Centre (AIMC) director and neuro-radiologist Dr Jiraporn Laothamatas.

The Nation reports that the study estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 children – some as young as four – were taking part in these boxing competitions nationwide and were getting exposed to injuries, especially to the brain.

The study claims that internal brain injuries, normally caused by direct blows to the head, are usually difficult to detect, but could have long-term effects and even lead to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s later in life.

Jiraporn’s study prompted the AIMC to discuss the matter last December with the hospital’s Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Research Centre and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and seek appropriate solutions.

The study showed brain damage and memory loss, as well as a high risk of neurological disorders among young fighters compared to their non-fighting peers. It also found that young fighters’ IQ scores were lower by 10 points. For instance, non-boxing youngsters scored between 90 and 110 points, which allows them to complete a diploma or the Bachelor’s Degree, while a child fighter with more than five years in the boxing career barely scored 84 points. Students scoring between 80 and 89 IQ points are usually only able to complete high school.

“Such brain injuries will impair the young fighters’ education and well-being. These children have no other choice but to become professional boxers later in life.

“How can they possibly study and find jobs? What will their quality of life be with a bruised brain and low IQ? They might develop neurological disorders later in life and become a burden on those around them,” Jirapan said.

Despite the 1999 Boxing Act’s requirement that all Muay Thai boxers be above the age of 15, some 100,000 child fighters are well below that age limit.

As the children are not registered with the Sports Authority of Thailand, they can only fight in unauthorised rings or at events held using the law’s loopholes. These children are also not always provided with sufficient safety gear.

Young Muay Thai fighters exposed to irrepairable brain damage | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thai Life

‘Overwhelming support’ for decriminalising marijuana for R&D

The Thaiger



‘Overwhelming support’ for decriminalising marijuana for R&D | The Thaiger

“An overwhelming number of people are voicing support for decriminalising the use of marijuana for research and development, and for medical purpose.”

This from Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the National Legislative Assembly, citing results of an opinion survey conducted between October 1-15.

Of the 16,431 people who voiced their opinions on the issue, 16,264 voted in support of the bid to amend the narcotics law to make it legally possible for marijuana to be used for medical research in the hope that medicines can be developed from the addictive drug for the treatment of certain diseases.

Somchai said over 290,000 had logged into the NLA’s webpage to take a look at the bill to amend the current narcotics law.

The NLA will conduct another public hearing during October to gauge public opinion about the topic and the results of the survey.

Earlier, Justice Minister Prajin Jantong cautioned that decriminalisation should not be rushed, noting that there are many strains of marijuana and each has different medicinal qualities.

He said that the patients must give their consent if they were to be given medicines extracted from marijuana and that measures must be put in place to prevent abuse of the drug if it was to be decriminalised.

The minister said several countries had conducted research on marijuana for medical purpose, but they could not produce medicines from the plants because of patent problems. In the case of Thailand, he said it was necessary for the country to conduct its own research and to develop medicines by itself.


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Wet season, not so wet – some dams are less than 60% full

The Thaiger



Wet season, not so wet – some dams are less than 60% full | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO: Ubonrat Dam – The Nation

Emerging from the back end of the annual wet season, Thailand should be well poised for adequate water supplies for the forthcoming dry season. There’s been major flooding of some dams in the central, far north-eastern and some southern areas. But the wet season rains have been ‘lumpy’ leaving many of the country’s major reservoirs half empty.

The Smart Water Operation Centre (SWOC) says they will need to manage water consumption more carefully as the quantities of water in nine major dams is currently less than expected.

According to the SWOC, dams containing less than 60% of their capacity include Chiang Mai’s Mae Kuang Udom Thara Dam at 44%, Lampang’s Mae Mhok Dam at 32% , Nakhon Ratchasima’s Moon Bon Dam at 54%, Udon Thani’s Huai Luang Dam at 50% , Khon Kaen’s Ubonrat Dam at 35%, Buriram’s Lam Nang Rong Dam at 34%, Suphanburi’s Krasieaw Dam at 36%, Uthai Thani’s Thap Salao Dam at 30%, and Yala’s Bang Lang Dam at 59%.

The National News Bureau of Thailand reports that dams with less than 30% of water will supply only domestic consumption and enough to sustain the ecosystem in the short-term.

The Secretary-General of the Office of the National Water Resource, Somkiat Prajamwong, has held a meeting to find ways to handle runoffs in the west and south of Thailand as well as a possible drought crisis in summer.

According to the Meteorology Department, heavy rains have been forecast this weekend, particularly in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces (where floods were reported throughout August and September and the dams are mostly full in the area).

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Somkid says he’ll fly to Beijing to discuss luring back Chinese visitors

The Thaiger



Somkid says he’ll fly to Beijing to discuss luring back Chinese visitors | The Thaiger

The fallout from a number of tragedies and bad PR has mobilised the Thai government to take firm steps towards luring back the Chinese travellers who have been looking elsewhere, other than Thailand, for their chosen holiday breaks.

The Nation is reporting that Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak has said today that he may have to hold talks with the Chinese government in Beijing to explore ways to boost the number of Chinese tourists back to the kingdom.

He says the number of Chinese tourists in September plunged by 14.80 per cent compared to the same month last year and the Thai government must find ways to improve the number of visitors.

In Chiang Mai, a crisis meeting for tour operators was held on tuesday night where hotel owners and tour group operators learned that Chinese tourism was down 50% in the first nine months of 2018, compared to last year.

Some measures were put forward at the Chiang Mai meeting to woo them back, including setting up Chinese language classes to improve communication with the tourists from China.

Deputy PM Somkid says Chinese tourists are a major group of foreign tourists for Thailand and he has instructed the Tourism Authority of Thailand to work with the Thai Airways International to come up with promotional packages for Chinese tourists for the final two months this year (reading between the lines there could be some cheap tickets coming up for flights to Chinese destination in November and December).

Somkid said THAI has also been instructed to hold talks with China Southern Airlines on cooperation of flights to attract more Chinese tourists. The deputy prime minister added that he has also instructed the Foreign Ministry to consider granting Chinese tourists visas on arrival, lessening the paperwork and costs for travellers from China.

Somkid says he'll fly to Beijing to discuss luring back Chinese visitors | News by The Thaiger

Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak – PHOTO: The Nation

SOURCES: The Nation, The Thaiger

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