Injuries Lurking Boxers Thai Children

Cheers broke out as two boys hooked each other in boxing ring, in Buriran province, in northeastern Thailand.

After five rounds, the winner of the match was Nantappy Promsod, 11 years old, known as the nickname : "Saksandee Super Besar."

He was awarded 3,000 baht ($ 94.34) for winning the match and getting an additional 1,500 bath ($ 47.17) for each match he attended.

Nanthawat is one of at least 10 boxers aged 15 years or less in Satuk District. Almost every village there has a boxing seat.

"Muay Thai," or Thai Boxing, is said to be 2,000 years old. Known as the "Art of Eight Body Members," the Muay Thai movement relies heavily on elbows, hands, knees and feet.

Thailand's national sport is gaining popularity abroad. But in Thailand itself, Muay Thai is a way to get out of poverty. Those who can reach the top position in this sport can earn a lot of money.

The countryside in northeastern Thailand is the home of big boxing stars winning international awards, such as the middle-class boxer Buakaw Banchamek, the two-time K-1 World MAX .

Originally from Surin Province, Buakaw, 35, started competing when he was eight years old and won the first international kickboxing tournament in Tokyo in 2004.

Nantikit wants to follow in his footsteps

"I want to be a champion" said Nanthawat, who has played 40 times in his career for 2 years. In the last few months Nantakin has won more than 10 consecutive games.

But as more and more Thai children, some even pre-kindergarten children, pursue Muay Thai, doctors and some children's rights organizations, warn sports can cause chronic health problems, such as neurological or neurological disorders.

Jiraporn Laothamatas, a neurologist and director of the Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Center in Thailand, said the study he performed for five years showed a pattern of brain damage and memory loss young boxers, compared to those who are not boxing.

"There is no safe boxing activity because you can see even adult boxers get older too, they also have Parkinson's disease, which is caused by brain damage.

According to the data Thai Sports Authority last year, more than 10,000 Thai boxers were less than 15 years old. But experts say the actual figure could be 20 times higher because not all boxers are registered.

However, parents and coaches reasoned, Muay Thai teaches discipline and an important source of income.

"The money earned from Nantappy from boxing will we're tubing for her needs, "said Nantakin's father and coach, Ong-arj Promsod, 36. "When we're short of money, I'll give him some pocket money for school." [fw/au]