Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Man who became paraplegic after swallowing garden slug dies aged 28

Man who became paraplegic after swallowing garden slug dies aged 28

"The conversation came up, 'Should I eat it?'".

One of Sam's friends, Jimmy Galvin, who was present at the party, described the event as a "red wine appreciation night".

Sam Ballard, from Sydney, was 19 when contracted a rare disease after swallowing the animal, which he didn't know had been infected with rat lungworm.

Doctors later diagnosed him with rat lungworm, which usually affects only rodents. Instead, he got worse, lapsing into a coma for 420 days and emerging with brain damage severe paralysis. The news was reported by Lisa Wilkinson, an anchor for The Sunday Project.

"We have some sad news for you now".

A young man who became a paraplegic after swallowing a garden slug as a dare by his mates has died.

When he was released from hospital, three years after being admitted, his friends rallied around him and tried to raise as much money as possible to help with the medical bills, but sadly it was never enough.


Eight years after falling ill it was announced that Sam passed away on Friday, November 2.

In extremely rare cases - like Sam's - it can cause an infection of the brain. When he did, the former rugby standout "just started bawling his eyes out".

His close friends often visited him, even if it was a "shock" to see their mate struggling.

Michael Sheasby said: "When I walked in, he was very, very gaunt, and there were cables everywhere". "It was a big shock".

"It made his day", his mates said.

Last September, without warning, the NDIS texted Ms Ballard to say a review of his plan had slashed his allocation to around £75,000. "He spent the afternoon laughing at me as I read him the sports section of the newspaper with new glasses on". His mother told him not to worry.

However, she added, Sam's illness hit the family hard. "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. As a result of media coverage, the decision was later reversed, according to the Grafton Daily Examiner.

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