Adolescents all over the globe love daring each other to do crazy or embarrassing things. Saying no to a dare makes teenagers feel like they are losing face around their friends, so many of them end up doing whatever extreme activity that they are dared to do, regardless of how dangerous it is. Now, however, one family is coming forward to tell a story about a dare gone wrong that they hope will serve as a warning to children and parents alike.
Sam Ballard was a 19 year-old rugby player back in 2010 who had his entire life ahead of him. One night, he was having drinks with some friends when one of them plucked up a slug from a garden and put it on the table in front of Sam, saying, “I dare you to eat it.”
Not wanting his friends to think he was a coward, Sam immediately swallowed the slug, and it didn’t take long for things to go downhill from there. Minutes after ingesting the slug, Sam collapsed and was completely unable to move.
When Sam was rushed to the hospital, doctors informed his family that ingesting the slug had infected him with rat lungworm. Typically found in rats, this disease can also be found in other animals if they consume or make contact with rat droppings.
Most people who contract rat lungworm feel no symptoms at all, but in rare cases like Sam’s, it can lead to a massive brain infection. Though Sam seemed to be on his way to recovery for a few days, he then took a sudden turn for the worse and fell into a coma. Since then, he has been a complete quadriplegic.
Now 28 years-old, Sam relies on his mother for round-the-clock care and can only eat through a feeding tube. His story serves as a grim reminder that teenagers should think twice before completing something on a dare, and that all parents should make sure their teens know that the choices they make now can affect them for the rest of their lives.
We pray for Sam and his family and hope that you SHARE this story as a reminder to think twice about acting on a dare even if it may appear harmless!