A Sydney man who was left paralyzed after eating a slug on a dare with friends years ago died Friday, Australian media reports.
Lisa Wilkinson, an Australian news anchor who works on the TV series The Project, reported the death of Sam Ballard, saying she had confirmed it through friends and family.
Wilkinson profiled Ballard in a story aired on The Sunday Project in April.
In 2010, a 19-year-old Ballard was hanging out with friends when he decided to eat a slug on a dare, reports news.com.au. Days later, Ballard complained of serious leg pains.
Doctors learned Ballard contacted rat lungworm, said the report. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s found only in rats, but snails and slugs can get it by eating larvae found on rat feces.
Ballard was in a coma for 420 days and was later diagnosed with an acquired brain injury, reports Wilkinson in a column for the website Ten Daily.
“Sam passed away on Friday morning at Hornsby Hospital, not far from where he grew up, surrounded by 20 of those he most loved in the world,” wrote Wilkinson.
The Northern Sydney Local Health District, which manages Hornsby Hospital, could not be immediately reached to confirm Ballard’s passing.
According to The Sunday Project piece in April, Katie Ballard, Sam’s mom, had to quit her job to care for him.
“As far as I’m concerned, he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Katie Ballard of Sam’s decision to eat the slug. “It was just a silly thing.”
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
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