Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Dora Pope

Australian man who swallowed slug on a dare dies at 28

Australian man who swallowed slug on a dare dies at 28

Within days of eating the slug, Ballard noticed pain in his legs.

He said "I love you" moments before passing way, she added. He said he and Sam Ballard were drinking at a party with pals in 2010 when Sam spotted the slug and had an idea.

He told The Project: "We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across". She reported that his last words were "I love you", said to his mom. "Bang. That's how it happened".

He subsequently fell into a coma for 420 days after contracting eosinophilic meningoencephalitis - a strand of meningitis.

A friendly dare went terribly wrong eight years ago when 19-year-old Sam Ballard ate a slug that was carrying a deadly parasite that left him paralyzed.

Another friend, Michael Sheasby, described the first time he walked into Sam's hospital room after the accident.

Katie Ballard said that although her son was "still cheeky Sam" after the tragic stunt, "it's devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever", she wrote in a 2011 Facebook post.

"Take care of your mates and before you jump off a roof into a pool or dare your mate to do something stupid, just think about it because it can have the worst consequences, not only to your friend but to his family and the rest of his friends".

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Sam spent three years in hospital after falling ill, but was later released in a motorised wheelchair.

He endured numerous medical complications since the initial infection, including suffering from seizures, being unable to control his body temperature and having to be tube fed.

Last September, without warning, the NDIS texted Ms Ballard to say a review of his plan had slashed his allocation to around £75,000.

He was later diagnosed with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis contracted from rat lungworm which is usually found in rodents by snails and slugs can also be infected when they eat rat faeces.

Most people don't show any symptoms but in rare cases - such as with Sam - it can affect the brain.

Sam has passed away eight years after contracting the infection.

The massive funding cut was without explanation and around-the-clock care means the Ballard family are heavily in debt and now owe a nursing service £25,000.

Sam Ballard with his friends before the tragedy.

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