Australian man who swallowed slug on a dare dies at 28

Sam Ballard was the ‘life of the party’ according to friends

Sam Ballard was the ‘life of the party’ according to friends

The NDIS said it had been "working closely with the Ballard family" to find a resolution and increase Sam's support package. After some banter, the then 19-year-old ate it.

A young rugby player who was left paralysed after eating a slug for a dare has died.

One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment.

He said he and Sam Ballard were drinking at a party with pals in 2010 when Sam spotted the slug and had an idea. 'Should I eat it?' And off Sam went. Bang. That's how it happened'.

He was anxious it might've been a symptom of eating the slug, but his mother told him not to worry: "No-one gets sick from that", she said. Doctors ruled out multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease that his father suffers from.

In the following days Mr Ballard fell ill and was told by doctors he had been infected with "rat lungworm".

The worm is usually found in rodents but snails and slugs can also become infected when they eat rat faeces, Australian news site reports.

The disease, which affects the brain and spinal cord, left Ballard with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis. When he woke up 420 days later he'd acquired a brain injury.

Last week, eight years after he fell ill, Ballard passed away at the age of 28.

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The news was reported by Lisa Wilkinson, an anchor for The Sunday Project.

"We have some sad news for you now". The Australian TV show had done a feature on Ballard's story earlier in the year.

"He had an army of friends and family who have loved and cared for him for which he was truly grateful", the post said.

He lost his fight for life on Friday and his last words to his mother were "I love you".

Katie Ballard, Sam's mother, described how hard life had been for Sam.

His mother, Katie Ballard, noted that while he was initially unable to move, he later regained some movement.

Sam has passed away eight years after contracting the infection.

Mr Galvin said he apologised to Sam personally following the event, and admitted he "started bawling his eyes out" when he did so.

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