Promising rugby player (28) dies after eating slug on dare

Ballard swallowed the slug on a'dare

Ballard swallowed the slug on a'dare

The conversation came, 'should I eat it?' Off Sam went. So says the host of an Australian TV show in her tribute column to Sam Ballard, a young man who took an ill-advised dare from his friends in 2010 and just died from complications related to that challenge. Bang. That's how it happened, " Sam's friend, Jimmy Galvin, told

Sam became ill the day after eating the slug.

But doctors found he had actually contracted rat lungworm, a disease found in rodents that can also infect snails and slugs through the larvae in their feces.

Soon after that, Sam fell sick after contracting a brain infection called eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and later went into a coma for 420 days. The Sunday Project's Lisa Wilkinson‏ wrote in a column Monday that for almost nine years, "Sam's handsome angel of a mum Katie has been right by Sam's side as his chief carer, never wavering in her love; feeding him, wheeling him, driving him, getting him bathed and toileted, organising doctor and hospital visits, always trying to find the lighter moments so she could see her boy smile again, waking at every sound in the night, always making sure Sam's friends felt welcomed in his new, limited world".

"We have some sad news for you now".

Sam's mother, Katie Ballard has previously spoken out about the incident, saying she didn't blame the boys for their playful dare or her son taking them up on it, and that they were just "being mates". Toddler from Big Island Contracts Rat Lungworm Disease, Hawaii's 5th Case in This Year.

Sam Ballard died on Friday at Hornsby, surrounded by mates.

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"One of his friends there in the room continued, "He had his voice and he said 'I love you" several times to Katie'".

Mr Galvin said he apologised to Sam for not stopping him that night in 2010.

When his friends visited, they said his face lit up and he was very much "still there". "He was scared", his mother told the Sunday Project.

He later added: "We like to sit down and watch the footy and watch the rugby".

His eyes would always light up when they came around.

In a Facebook post from 2011, Ms Ballard said she hoped her son would walk again.

"Physios had Sam standing in the frame at the gym", she wrote. "The impact is huge". An initial allocation of care as part of the government's National Disability Insurance Scheme saw the family receive $471,000.

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