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Man ate slug after being dared to by his mates and it ended in an absolute tragedy

Dylan Murray

Published 
| Last updated 

Man ate slug after being dared to by his mates and it ended in an absolute tragedy

Featured Image Credit: Family handout/Richard Newstead

An Australian man who ate a slug on a dare tragically passed away after the silly joke turned into a tragedy.

Daring your friends to do foolish and dangerous things is a common phenomenon across the world, especially when you’re young.

With many young people loving to live on the edge and try daring things to entertain themselves and their friends, it’s not surprising that so many have done some irresponsible things purely because they were told to by one of their mates.

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However, these dares can sometimes have disastrous consequences, even if the act itself may seem relatively harmless at first glance.

This was the case for Sam Ballard who, when he was 19 years old in 2010, ate a slug after being dared to do so by some friends in Australia.

“We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across,” noted Sam’s friend Jimmy.

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“The conversation came, 'should I eat it?' [and] off Sam went.”

Sam Ballard (center) participating in a bike race. Credit TheProjectTV
Sam Ballard (center) participating in a bike race. Credit TheProjectTV

While the best-case scenario when eating a small creature under these circumstances would’ve been a slight stomach ache and a teachable moment, the result of Ballard’s actions ended tragically for the young Australian.

Sam would find out the hard way that the slug he ate was infected with a parasite known as rat lungworm, which caused him to suffer from severe weakness and pain throughout his legs.

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The parasite eventually caused the 19-year-old to contract a strand of meningitis known as eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, a severe but treatable disease that further worsened his condition. Because of this, Ballard fell into a 420-day coma, and his young life was never the same again.

Sam Ballard with his friend Jimmy. Credit: TheProjectTV
Sam Ballard with his friend Jimmy. Credit: TheProjectTV

When he finally awoke, he learned that the parasite had caused an infection that spread to his brain, resulting in severe paralysis and an inability to eat without assistance. Ballard required 24-hour care and lived his life in a wheelchair until his unfortunate passing in 2018 at the young age of 29.

Throughout the eight years following his coma, Sam’s mother, Katie Ballard, took care of him every day, noting in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in Australia that things like using the bathroom became very difficult for someone in his condition. Ultimately, however, she didn’t blame his friends for the dare, as she deemed their encouragement to do the peculiar act as merely a side effect of being friends with someone.

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Sam passed with his friends and family by his side, with his last words to his mom being 'I love you' shortly before his death.

Topics: Community, Animals, Australia, Health, News

Dylan Murray
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