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Teen Left Disabled for Life After Friend's Disgusting Dare

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Teenagers are notorious for their loopy ideas and ridiculous dares. The internet is peppered with prank videos and crazy stunts, many of them performed by young adults.

Any time there’s a group of teens together, drama of some sort often follows. Sometimes peer pressure plays a part, at other times the young ‘uns seem to be chomping at the bit to do something reckless.

Lack of life experience combined with way too much energy and a brain that isn’t yet fully formed can have devastating results.

But this story is different. Teens are notorious for daring each other to do obviously stupid and dangerous things (eating Tide Pods, for example).

This dare shouldn’t have ended the way it did. The kid in question, 19-year-old Sam Ballard, probably had no clue that a seemingly harmless act would have such life-shattering consequences.

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What was the horrible thing the fit young rugby player was dared to eat back in 2010? A slug. A little, gross, legless bug that practically everyone recognizes.



The shelled versions are even delicacies in some cuisines. Apart from the “ick” factor, this escapade should have ended as soon as the hapless slug was swallowed — instead, that’s where all the problems began.

Unbeknownst to everyone present at the Sydney, Australia, birthday party (including Sam himself) the slug was infected. It was carrying rat lungworm.

Not all slugs carry this parasite: only the ones that come into contact with contaminated rodent feces, as this slug had.

Even when ingested by humans, the parasite rarely makes itself known. People usually show no symptoms. But it attacked Sam’s brain, causing an infection and sending him into a 420-day coma.

When he woke up, he was a different person. His mother, who used to think of him as a bit rough around the edges but invincible, was shocked at the change.

He was able to leave the hospital three years after that fateful dare, but in a wheelchair, as a quadriplegic. He has seizures, cannot regulate his body temperature, and has to be fed through a tube.

Early on, his mother was hopeful that she’d have her feisty son back in no time. “Sam is doing really well,” she wrote online.

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“He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot. He will walk and talk again (thank god) but the time factor is was we don’t know.”



Friends came together to raise funds for Sam, and in 2016 his mother was awarded £300,000 by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Last year, and with little warning or explanation, that funding was cut to £75,000. The family has since struggled to keep up with their son’s medical bills.

The NDIS has since said it is working with the family to try and find a better solution for Sam and those who care for him. Hopefully, the family will receive more support and encouragement through this difficult process.

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