‘Should I Eat It?’: Tragic Last Words Of Teen Rugby Player Before He Swallowed Slug And Became Quadriplegic

The tragic last words of a teenage rugby player who became a quadriplegic after swallowing a slug as a dare have been revealed.

Sam Ballard, then 19, told friends “should I eat it?” before ingesting the poisonous mollusc at a pal’s party in 2010.

Sam, from Sydney, Australia, quickly fell ill after he accepted the silly challenge and spent 420 days in a coma after he developed eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis.

When Sam woke up he found he had become a quadriplegic.


His friend Jimmy Galvin told The Project : “We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown ups and a slug came crawling across.

“The conversation came up, ‘Should I eat it?’ Off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”

Sam was rushed to hospital where doctors told him he had been infected with rat lungworm.

While the disease is usually found in rodents, snails and slugs can become infected as they often eat the rats’ faeces.

The excrement contains a parasite which is known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

It is very rare, but sometimes the parasite can cause an infection on the brain, which happened in Sam’s case.

He developed eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and fell into a coma for 420 days.

When he woke up he found he had become a quadriplegic.

Sam’s mother, Kate, remained hopeful that her son would walk and talk again.

But as the years have passed she said: “It’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. It’s huge. The impact is huge.”

Sam was released from hospital – three years after falling ill – in a motorised wheelchair.

His friends rallied round and raised money for the 24/7 care he would need.

Earlier this month it was reported Sam, now 28, is fighting the government after having his disability allowance cut.

When Sam became eligible for thousands of pounds in disability allowance in 2016, Kate applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

But in September last year, she was told a review of his plan had cut his allowance of $492,000 to just $135,000.

This has sent the family into debt and they now owe nurses $42,000.

But the NDIS told the Daily Telegraph it is “working closely” with the family to find a resolution.


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