A man in Australia has died eight years after taking on a strange, and seemingly harmless-at-the-time dare—in which he swallowed a slug in 2010.
Sam Ballard, of Sydney, who was 19-years-old at the time of the stunt, was reportedly having a good time with friends while drinking wine and “trying to act like grown ups,” news.com.au reported.
A friend of the victim recalled the events that took place on the fateful day to the media outlet.
“We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown up and a slug came crawling across here,” recalled Ballard’s pal Jimmy Galvin of the 2010 incident. “The conversation came up, you know. ‘Should I eat it?’ And off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”
While the teen didn’t suffer any apparent effects right away, he did suffer from “severe pain” in his leg a short time later.
A promising young rugby player who was left paralysed after eating a slug as a dare at a birthday party has died https://t.co/G9ZGjPL69G
— The Sun (@TheSun) November 5, 2018
While he initially believed the illness that crept up could’ve been the result of multiple sclerosis, which his father was diagnosed with, doctors found that it wasn’t the case.
Ballard told his mother about the slug incident, but she apparently didn’t believe anything this extreme could come from the dare.
“No one gets sick from that,” she said in reaction to her son’s possible theory.
The man was tragically diagnosed with “rat lungworm disease,” which according to the Government of South Wales, “is a parasite that mainly lives in rodents such as rats and can infect snails and slugs that come into contact with infected rat faeces.”
The site also said “people can be infected when they eat an infected snail or slug”—as Ballard did in the dare that would destroy his life.
Rat lungworm eventually led to the victim developing eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which landed him in a 420-day coma, and in turn caused a brain injury that left him paralyzed.
Over the years, Ballard was able to use his arms and legs to some degree, but he still had to rely on others to help with toileting and eating.
The victim died on Friday at a mere 29-years-old. His obituary described a man who still lived life to the fullest despite his unanticipated fate.
“Sam was a true battler and hero to his younger brother Joshua and sister Melanie. He had an army of friends and family who have loved and cared for him for which he was truly grateful,” the obit stated. “His last days were the happiest and he was surrounded by a room full of love.”
[Feature Photo: Sam Ballard/Family Handout]