“I love you, mum,” were his heartbreaking last words.
After an eight-year battle with debilitating brain injuries, Sam Ballard, the man who swallowed a garden slug on a seemingly harmless dare, has passed away.
Ballard did the stunt back in 2010, when he was only 19 years old, at a party with his friends. A slug had wandered onto their table, and the teens dared each other to eat it. Ballard, unfortunately, took on the challenge – and days later he would end up in a coma for 420 days.
Apparently, the mollusk he swallowed contained a rare parasite known as rat lungworm, which is usually found in rodents but can be transmitted to snails and slugs if they eat the rat feces.
Many people contract rat lungworm after eating undercooked or raw snails. Most recover from the infection, but in cases like Ballard, the patients develop eosinophilic meningitis, which severely affects the brain and nervous system.
Sam’s mum, Katie, spoke about their predicament in a Facebook post. “It’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever,” she wrote. “The impact is huge.”
Ballard, who once had a bright future ahead of him as a rugby player, died on Friday surrounded by family and friends.
Via Business Insider