HAZING is supposed to be illegal, but as the case of Horacio Castillo III has shown, it still is happening.

But while the pain inflicted is common among fraternities, why do some neophytes survive and others do not?

“It is simply a case-to-case scenario,” Rowen Yolo, the Director of Board of Governors of the Philippine Society of Pathologists, told the Varsitarian.

A copy of Castillo’s death certificate highlighted that Castillo suffered from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).

HCM is characterized by myocardial hypertrophy or the massive enlargement of the heart muscle tissues, making the heart wall grossly thickened due to high blood pressure.

Castillo’s parents insist he was healthy and active in playing football.

“HCM is one of the most common causes of sudden, otherwise unexplained [deaths] in young athletes,” said Yolo, who teaches at the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

Also considered in this case was rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome caused by injury to skeletal muscle and involves leakage of large quantities of toxic contents into the body.

Rhabdomyolysis may also cause kidney damage that can be detrimental to the body.

Trauma that commonly occurs in accidents and even in physical blunt trauma encountered in hazing injuries can cause rhabdomyolysis.

“[Therefore, Castillo’s] death was related to both the consequence of kidney failure and very likely, compounded independently by sudden cardiac death because of a pre- existing cardiac pathology,” said Yolo.

“What is clear is that [Castillo] sustained an injury far beyond what his body could tolerate, no matter how much degree of injury was delivered,” he added.

Yolo said Castillo must have died “a slow and painful death.”

“My tolerance of the degree of pain is different from others and may not necessarily reflect a scale similar to the degree of pain [that] Castillo experienced,” he said.

Body tolerance is dependent on many factors such as age, physical stature, gender and conditions such as heart diseases, said Yolo.

Pain threshold is the minimum intensity at which a person begins to perceive, or sense, a stimulus as being painful. Pain tolerance, is the maximum amount, or level, of pain a person can tolerate or bear.

The threshold for pain can differ between men and women, and can uctuate based on many other factors.

Pain researchers believe regular exposure to painful stimuli can increase one’s pain tolerance.

Some individuals learn to handle pain by becoming more conditioned to it, however, there is also evidence stating that repeated exposure to pain can make a person respond more vigorously to minor pain in the future.

Though a high tolerance for pain can be good in many ways, people with a high pain tolerance must be vigilant to pay attention to their bodies because even a perceived discomfort can be a sign of a major health issue.

Based on the Latin word “dolor” (“pain”), researchers at the University of Cornell devised a unit of measurement for pain (the dol) in their efforts to quantify it.

Yolo insists that the scale is a subjective assessment of pain experienced and quanti ed by the individual involved in sustaining an injury.

“My tolerance of the degree of pain is different from others and may not necessarily re ect a scale similar to the degree of pain [that] Castillo experienced. Personally, [I think] the poor unsuspecting student must have died of a slow and painful death,”
said Yolo.

Psychologically, people tolerate pain in different ways.Some prefer to bear their pain in silence and stoicism, such as those who suffer chronic illnesses or injuries, while others resort to complaining, crying and pill-popping as their manifestation of pain.

Some cultures see the admission of pain as a sign of weakness, so they have been conditioned in a “mind over matter” attitude by their family or society.

Yolo said that neophytes are
certainly not physically and psychologically prepared for initiation rites.

“That’s why you are called a neophyte. You are not aware of the details of forthcoming series of initiation rites that
is to be undertaken. This is the risk that a neophyte will take,” he said.