His name was Sam Ballard and he was a promising rugby player from Sydney, Australia but things took a turn for the worst when he decided to fulfil a drunken dare given to him by his friends.
This is probably also a story about what not to do when casually carousing with your peers and how even though things might not seem that big of a deal at the moment, they can always have lasting effects afterwards.
Sam Ballard was enjoying a few glasses of red wine as they had “a red wine appreciation night” and when things started to get a bit blurry, he was dared to eat a normal-looking garden slug. He didn’t waste any time and off he went to carry his dare out.
Things didn’t go downhill right away and they managed to finish their night off on a high.
It wasn’t until a few days after that that Sam started complaining about severe pains in his legs. That was followed by vomiting and constant dizziness.
A quick visit to the hospital after his condition worsened didn’t prepare Sam’s family for the coma he was going to stay in for 420 days.
That coma is what paralyzed him and eventually killed him.
So what actually happened?
RAT LUNGWORM – The disease that paralyzed and killed Sam Ballard.
Rat Lungworm disease is a condition caused by a parasitic worm that’s usually found in rodents. This can transfer to slugs and snails if they eat rodent excrement, which is probably how the disease was then passed on to Ballard.
In most cases, people who contract this disease tend to recover within a few days, but in rare cases like Sam’s, it can also prove to be fatal.
Humans are a “dead-end” host for the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis — the scientific name for rat lungworms — meaning the parasites don’t reproduce in humans, but they do “get lost” in the central nervous system, or even move into the eye chamber, until they die.” – University of Hawai’i
This disease completely blindsided Sam’s family as he was considered to be invincible, but this just goes to show that one silly mistake can have a lasting effect on you and the people around you that love you.