Rugby player who swallowed a garden slug as a dare, now a quadriplegic

At a friend’s party strapping 19-year-old rugby player Sam Ballard from North Shore, Sydney swallowed a garden slug as a dare.

A group of his mates was sitting around at a table drinking red wine when a slug was produced and one of them said: “Eat it, I dare you!” and Sam did.

His mother Katie says she had always thought of her son as “my rough and tumble, invincible Sam” but the teenager’s life was to take a devastating turn after swallowing the slug.

He fell ill and was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital where he was diagnosed as having been infected with rat lungworm.

Image result for sam ballard you tube images
SAM BALLARD AND HIS MOM KATIE                                                                           YOUTUBE

Rat lungworm is the common name for a parasitic roundworm that commonly resides in the pulmonary arteries of rats, hence its name.

Snails or slugs can become infected when they eat the faeces of rats hosting the parasite and can, in turn,  pass on the larvae to humans when ingested raw or uncooked.

Most people develop no symptoms but very rarely the parasite causes a serious infection of the brain.

Sam initially seemed to be rallying but he then lapsed into a coma for 420 days and emerged from the ordeal as a quadriplegic.

When he was released from hospital in a motorized wheelchair three years after becoming ill his friends rallied around him and raised money to help pay for the 24/7 care he requires.   But now 28 his needs far exceed what was raised or his family can afford and the one-time strapping young man has to rely on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the community to look after him.



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