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Eating Slug on a Dare Leaves Teen Disabled for Life

Eating Slug on a Dare Leaves Teen Disabled for Life
(Frances Van Der Merwe/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 08 March 2018 05:44 PM

A teen athlete who ate a slug on a dare in 2010 contracted a rare brain infection and is now disabled for life and his family is battling the Australian government for financial support.

Sam Ballard, an Australian rugby player, consumed the slug on a dare during a party with friends, but fell ill later and had to be hospitalized, according to News.com.au. Doctors diagnosed him with rat lungworm, a parasite that snails sometimes carry from eating rat feces.

In most cases, the parasite doesn't cause serious problems and the body's immune system kills it off, but Ballard developed eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis from it, and eventually lapsed into a coma for 420 days. When he awoke, he was a quadriplegic, had frequent seizures and couldn't control his body temperature, News.com reported.

Ballard's friends raised money for his 24/7 nursing care, and his mother Katie got a National Disability Insurance Scheme package of $492,000 a year for his care in 2016, Newsweek reported.

In 2017, however, the NDIS reviewed the aid package and reduced it to only $135,000 a year, which is not enough for his care. The Ballards now owe a nursing service $42,000 and are fighting with NDIS for the original amount. NDIS is again reviewing the aid to see if a resolution to the problem can be found, News.com reported.

Newsweek noted that eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis is an extremely rare side effect of rat lungworm and that even most people who contract the rare brain infection do not develop the complications Ballard did. It is not clear why Ballard's infection became so severe.

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An Australian teen ate a slug on a dare and contracted a rare brain infection that has left the athlete disabled for life and his family fighting for financial support.
eating, slug, teen, disabled
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2018-44-08
Thursday, 08 March 2018 05:44 PM
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