It was a silly joke that went horribly wrong.
Eight years ago, Sam Ballard was a happy-go-lucky 19-year-old Australian lad whose friend dared him to eat a slug. Ballard accepted the challenge, which ended up being a tragic mistake.
After ingesting the slug, Ballard, a strong and avid rugby player, contracted rat lungworm. The parasite is found in rat feces and can be ingested by slugs and snails. By eating the slug, Ballard accidentally ate the parasite that would eventually cause him to fall into a coma for 420 days.
When he awoke from the coma, Ballard had suffered permanent brain damage, requiring him to have 24-hour care. He lived with his condition for many years before passing away on November 2, 2018.
He was surrounded by friends and family.
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) November 5, 2018
His story has touched many.
That is heartbreaking.
— t (@dopaminediscord) November 5, 2018
Man, this rips me up. So very sad. Wishing the best to his loved ones. May he have peace.
— Ashansen (@Ashansen2017) November 5, 2018
— Vivienne (@Audrakat) November 5, 2018
Geez this is gut wrenching
— Bryna Makowka (@BEMAKOWKA) November 5, 2018
Why do I keep reading things that break my heart 💔
— Bambina (@tvdiva89) November 6, 2018
Prayers for Sam and his family. I’m sorry for your loss and pain
— Gabriella Rachal (@creolelady53) November 6, 2018
That's really, really sad. 😟
— illahstrait (@illahstrait) November 5, 2018
Rest in peace Bro ❤️🙏
Such is life sometimes, tragedy pounces on you from out of nowhere! ♥️❤️😭
— Fayrama (@Fayrama_) November 5, 2018
I just read about a former rugby player who died last week after eight years of quasi paralysis as a result of a dare in 2010 to swallow a slug that carried rat lungworm. He was nineteen when he ate the slug. His last words were to his mother: "I love you."
How final. RIP, Sam. pic.twitter.com/hToV3M9uBq
— Danny Ewe (@DannyEwe8) November 5, 2018
How sad! And it was a prank! It took 8 yeRs for him to die, slowly & painfully! Soar on your new wings 😇. Prayers for family and friends!
— MJLadner (@MelissaJLadner) November 5, 2018
So sorry for him and his family.
— 🦋Steph🦋💜🍂🍃 (@steph0367) November 5, 2018
My God, the before and after pictures are eye opening….Poor kid made a mistake.
— Amber (@NYCdeb8tr) November 5, 2018
We offer condolences to Ballard’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.