What is it these days with teenagers being challenged to eat dangerous things for fun?
The Tide pod challenge has swept across the internet in the past few months and is a popular topic of humor with youth culture. However, a story has emerged recently of a similar dare that had very unfortunate consequences.
Sam Ballard, 19, of Sydney, Australia, was at a birthday party when he was dared to eat a garden slug. A few days later, he became seriously ill.
He fell into a coma for over a year after he contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, a rare and dangerous form of meningitis.
Doctors say he was infected by a rat lungworm, which caused an infection in his brain, which has caused frequent seizures. Sam spent three years in the hospital and is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Sam’s mother says that this whole ordeal has been gut-wrenching. “It has devastated and changed his life forever, changed my life forever,” she said. “The impact is huge.”
However, she does say that he has kept his spirits high and is recovering well. “Sam is doing really well. He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot,” she said. “He will walk and talk again, thank God, but the time factor is what we don’t know.”
The lungworm that Sam ingested is usually found in rodents, but snails and slugs can get infected when they eat rat feces. It is rare for people to develop symptoms from this lungworm, however, and brain infections are even rarer still.
In other news, a dad’s punishment for his son after he was accused of bullying is dividing opinions online. Watch and see for yourself in the next article below.