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Sam Ballard dies eight years after swallowing a slug
06 November 2018, 01:26 | Silvia Roy
Sam Ballard was loved by friends and family who never stopped caring for him. News Man who ate slug died in ‘room full of love
"The conversation came up, you know - 'Should I eat it?' And off Sam went".
When Sam Ballard's friends dared him to eat a slug that was crawling across the patio in 2010, the 19-year-old accepted the challenge without a second thought.
"Bang. That's how it happened", a friend of Sam's - Jimmy Galvin - later said.
Within days of eating the slug, Ballard noticed pain in his legs.
Found in rodents, the worm can sometimes infect snails or slugs with the parasite if they consume the rodents' excrement.
Tragically Mr Ballard contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and lapsed into a coma for 420 days, suffering a severe infection to his brain.
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He had an army of friends and family who have loved and cared for him for which he was truly grateful", the post said.
Sam Ballard, who was a rugby player before the incident, reportedly died in a Sydney hospital on Friday surrounded by family and friends, according to the Independent.
While he was initially unable to move his limbs, the former Barker College student worked hard to regain some movement.
Mr Galvin said he apologised to Sam personally following the event, and admitted he "started bawling his eyes out" when he did so.
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"So you know he's there", Mr Galvin said. "It was a big shock".
He later added: "We like to sit down and watch the footy and watch the rugby".
Before the accident, Mr Ballard's mother Katie described how she saw her son as "invincible". "He spent the afternoon laughing at me as I read him the sports section of the newspaper with new glasses on".
"No one gets sick from that", she told him. His mother Katie, who cared for him full-time, was by his side, and Sam was able to express his gratitude to her.
In 2016, Katie Ballard applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) when Sam became eligible for a £300,000 package.
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