A 19-year-old former Australian rugby player remains bedridden after swallowing a garden slug as part of a dare. Following the event, which occurred more than three years ago, the Australian teen needs round-the-clock attention, and his disability insurance check has recently been reduced.
Australian Teen Eats Garden Slug Infected with Rat Lungworm
With tears in his eye, Sam Ballard, now 27, recalls the hardship he and his family had to endure after he took part in a dare. Back in 2010, when Ballard was 19 years of age and an aspiring rugby player, he ate a garden slug as part of a truth-or-dare kind of game he was playing with his friends.
Several days later, the Australian teen was rushed to the hospital after he experienced unusual symptoms. The doctors told the family that their son fell into a coma and there’s a chance that he may never wake up.
Ballard would eventually wake up after spending 420 days in the hospital’s ICU. Years have passed, and the Australian teen feels the aftermath of the game he played – the man is paralyzed from the neck down and requires around-the-clock attention.
As the doctors explained, the garden slug ingested by the Australian teen was infected with a parasitic roundworm called Angiostrongylus cantonesis, also known as the rat lungworm.
Although not all garden slugs carry this parasite, some of them get infested after eating rat feces. During its early stages of development, the rat lungworm can jump out of its host and infect humans.
In Ballard’s case, the parasite attacked his nervous system causing his coma and paralysis. The Australian teen also told the reporters that Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme has significantly reduced his disability benefits. From $383,700 per year, his family is now due to receive only $105,000 per year.
Image source: MaxPixel