Rugby player left disabled for life after eating slug as dare at birthday party

Sam became a paraplegic after eating slugs (Facebook)
Sam became a paraplegic after eating slugs (Facebook)

A rugby player in Australia became a paraplegic after swallowing a garden slug as a dare at a birthday party.

Sam Ballard, 28, became seriously ill after he ate the creature whole at a birthday party in Sydney, Australia.

After initial tests, doctors discovered that he had been infected with rat lungworm, which resulted in a infection on his brain.

He subsequently fell into a coma for 420 days after contracting eosinophilic meningoencephalitis – a strand of meningitis.

The talented rugby player spent three years in hospital and now uses a wheelchair for life, as well as suffering continued seizures.

Sam became a paraplegic after eating a slug (Facebook)
Sam became a paraplegic after eating a slug (Facebook)

But while his mother Katie continues to care for him, she faced a new challenge last year when she was told that a huge disability allowance package would be slashed.

In 2016, she applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) when Sam became eligible for a £300,000 package.

Last September, the NDIS texted Ms Ballard to confirm that a review of his plan had slashed his allocation to around £75,000.

Now, the massive funding cut means that the Ballard family face huge debts, currently owing £25,000 to a nursing service.

‘It’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. The impact is huge’, she said of her son’s battle.

The lungworm swallowed by the 28-year-old is usually found in rodents, but most people develop no symptoms at all.