Sam Ballard dead: How did Sam Ballard die? Promising rugby player dies

Sam Ballard dead: How did Sam Ballard die? Promising rugby player dies

"The conversation came up, you know".

When Sam Ballard's friends dared him to eat a slug that was crawling across the patio in 2010, the 19-year-old accepted the challenge without a second thought.

A man who was left paralysed after eating a slug as a dare at a birthday party has died at the age of 28. But after swallowing the slug, Ballard contracted a rat lungworm - a parasitic worm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) that lives in rodents and can be passed onto snails and slugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From a robust rugby player, Ballard would face several medical complications, such as contracting a form of meningitis and lapsing into a coma for 420 days. His last words to his mother were, "I love you", according to the Australian news show. "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. Toddler from Big Island Contracts Rat Lungworm Disease, Hawaii's 5th Case in This Year.

Lisa Wilkinson, who wrote a piece about Sam for Ten Daily, wrote, "While doctors had managed to save him in time, he was now confined to a wheelchair, with limited communication skills, and needing 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week care". "Sam passed away on Friday morning at Hornsby Hospital, not far from where he grew up, surrounded by 20 of those he most loved in the world", Wilkinson wrote.

Over the past decade, he regained some use of his arms and legs but required assistance to eat and use the bathroom. He mentioned to his mother and the doctors that he had eaten a slug earlier. When he did, the former rugby standout "just started bawling his eyes out".

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Here's what you need to know.

His close friends often visited him, even if it was a "shock" to see their mate struggling. The woman hoped to the last that his son will recover and walk.

"Told him it was the stress of the last 16 months that had affected my eyesight".

In 2010, Australian teenager Sam Ballard did something that would change the course of his life forever. "The impact is huge".

In 2016, Katie Ballard applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) when Sam became eligible for a £300,000 package.

But in October, 2017, that was reviewed and slashed by more than half. Media coverage and the family's fight for additional funding and care saw the decision reversed.

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