Dared to death: Rugby player Sam Ballard dies aged 28

Ebony Scott
November 7, 2018

The man was only 19 when he swallowed a slug during a party with friends in 2010.

Then a slug crawled across the concrete patio and Sam's friends dared him to eat it. Doctors confirmed Ballard had contracted rat lungworm, a parasite that most commonly lives in rodents, such as rats.

The death of the once promising young rugby player and former Barker College student has also been met by an outpouring of grief, with many people online paying tribute to his "courage" and determination.

Katie Ballard with her Sam who was left severely disabled after contracting meningitis and was in a coma for over 400 days. Wilkinson writes, "Sam's attractive angel of a mum Katie has been right by Sam's side as his chief carer, never wavering in her love; feeding him, wheeling him, driving him, getting him bathed and toileted, organising doctor and hospital visits, always trying to find the lighter moments so she could see her boy smile again, waking at every sound in the night, always making sure Sam's friends felt welcomed in his new, limited world. On Friday, Sam passed away, surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates", Ms Wilkinson said.

"His last days were the happiest and he was surrounded by a room full of love".

She said the group of friends that were there that night were as good as it gets.

Back in 2010, a young Australian man was having a few drinks with friends in a backyard and chose to eat a garden slug on a dare, only for the creature to end up paralyzing and killing him eight years later.

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The Independent wrote, that Katie Ballard "said she did not blame the friends who dared her son at the 2010 party". "Twenty-year-old boys, red wine, alcohol, sitting at some mate's table - a slug goes onto the table, someone banters about a dare", his mother, Katie Ballard, told 7 News Sydney in an interview the following year.

The teenager then faced more struggles, as he became paralysed and was unable to eat or go to the bathroom by himself.

"No one gets sick from that", she told him. "He just started bawling his eyes out, so I know he's there".

"So, you know he's there", Galvin said.

Sam Ballard was the "life of the party", according to friends.

He later added: "We like to sit down and watch the footy and watch the rugby". The woman hoped to the last that his son will recover and walk.

"Physios had Sam standing in the frame at the gym", she wrote. He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot. "The impact is huge".

Other reports by GizPress

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