AustraliaSam Ballard

Sam Ballard Biography, Wiki, Age, Mother, Death and Cause, Contracted Rat Lungworm after eating a slug

2nd November 2018; Sam Ballard, young man who contracted rat lungworm after eating slug in 2010 dies

Sam Ballard Wiki

Sam Ballard Bio

Sam Ballard was a  young rugby player from Sydney who ate a slug at a party in 2010 after a dare at the age of only 19, unaware that the animal was infected with rat lungworm. He contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis and fell into a coma for 420 days. While many people recover from the infection, Sam suffered brain damage from which he never recovered. Sam Ballard died on Friday, 2nd October 2018 aged 28.
Sam Ballard Age He was 28 years old as at the time of his death
Sam Ballard Died He died on 2nd October 2018
Sam Ballard Cause of Death Eosinophilic Meningoencephalitis – Medical Definition of Eosinophilic meningitisEosinophilic meningitis: Meningitis with a high percentage of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The usual cause is the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis, also known as the rat lungworm.

Sam Ballard Illness

Sam Ballard never did anything wrong, if you ask family and friends. The teenager from Sydney’s upper north shore was having a laugh and some red wine with mates in the backyard, “trying to act like grown-ups”.

It was 2010  a night that would change the 19-year-old’s entire life and the lives of everybody around him. A slug crawled across the concrete patio and, teens being teens, a dare emerged for Sam to eat it. One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment. “We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown up and a slug came crawling across here,” he said.

“The conversation came up, you know. ‘Should I eat it?’ And off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”

He didn’t become sick immediately but complained of serious pain in his legs in the days after.

Sam was worried that it might have been a symptom of eating the slug, but his mother, Katie Ballard,  told him not to worry: “No-one gets sick from that,” she said. He was also worried he might have developed Multiple sclerosis, like his father, but that was ruled out.

Doctors later determined Sam was infected with rat lungworm. The worm that infected Sam is usually found in rodents, but snails and slugs can also become infected when they eat rat faeces.

Sam contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, which usually many people recover from. Sam, unfortunately, did not. He fell into a coma for 420 days and when he woke had an acquired brain injury.

Sam in hospital

Katie Ballard, Sam’s mother, described how hard life had been for Sam. He couldn’t eat for himself and needed help going to the bathroom.

While he was initially unable to move his limbs, the former Barker College student worked hard to regain some movement.

In 2011, Katie shared a post on Facebook, maintaining hope that her “rough-and-tumble Sam” would recover.

“Physios had Sam standing in the frame at the gym,” she wrote. “He spent the afternoon laughing at me as I read him the sports section of the newspaper with new glasses on.

“Told him it was the stress of the last 16 months that had affected my eyesight.”

Later, she wrote that “he is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot” but admitted “it’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. It’s huge. The impact is huge.”

Sam Ballard with his rugby mates
Sam Ballard with his rugby mates

Sam Ballard Family Woes with the Insurance

Katie spent years fighting for adequate care for Sam after 2010. An initial allocation of care as part of the government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme saw the family receive $471,000.

But in October 2017, that was reviewed and slashed by more than half. Media coverage and the family’s fight for additional funding and care saw the decision reversed.

Sam Ballard Death and Cause

On Friday, 2nd August 2018, eight years after he fell ill, Sam died. The Sunday Project’s Lisa Wilkinson broke the news during a sombre but brief segment.

“We have some sad news for you now. Earlier this year we brought you the story of Sam Ballard who, on a dare from his mates, ate a slug. He contracted rat lung disease with devastating effects,” Wilkinson said.

“His friends have stuck by him ever since. Sam passed away, surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates.

“His last words to his mum: ‘I love you’.”

Katie Ballard, Sam’s Mum has always stated that she does not blame Sam’s friends for the dare.

Katie Ballard, Sam Ballard Mum
Katie Ballard, Sam Ballard Mum
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Moses

Moses Njoroge is the Senior Editor at Glob Intel, a news and IT service provider company. He has a wide range of experience in freelance writing, Web/System Development and other related IT services.

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