Man left paraplegic after eating slug dies aged 28

Leslie Hanson
November 5, 2018

Before the dare Mr Ballard had been a promising young rugby player at his high school, Barker College, on Sydney's upper north shore.

The "cheeky larrikin" passed away on Friday after years of medical complications following the incident.

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.

Sam Ballard, 28, was dared to eat the bug when he was only 19 at a party, but it left him paraplegic and thrust him into a horror 420-day coma after he contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis.

"The conversation came up, should I eat it?"

'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, ' Mr Galvin said.

The Sunday Project host Lisa Wilkinson confirmed the tragic news. Bang. That's how it happened'.

Angiostrongylus cantonensis - or rat lungworm - is found in rodents, but snails or slugs can become infected when they eat the faeces of rats.


Throughout the many struggles with his health, Sam's friends were still by his side and frequently visited him over the years.

She added: "His last words to his mum: "I love you".

While many people recover from the infection, Sam suffered brain damage from which he never recovered.

Sam has passed away eight years after contracting the infection.

They'd watch footy like they used to and share a beer, even if that meant just a sip for Sam when Katie left the room.

Before the accident, Mr Ballard's mother Katie described how she saw her son as "invincible", writing in a 2011 Facebook post that she hoped he would walk again. "It's huge. The impact is huge".

Katie applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2016 and Sam was granted a AUD $492,000 package.

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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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