Most of us who have gone through our teenage years know the difficulty involved with resisting a dare. With friends egging us on, a cool image to uphold, and an ego to maintain, many of us would do just about any dumb thing that we were dared to do.
But for some, those dares could end up dangerous – dangerous enough to have devastating results. In 2010, Sam Ballard, then aged 19, was a rugby player with a bright future ahead. While hanging out with his fellow athletic friends and sipping wine, one of them dropped a life-changing dare on him.
They got a slug from the garden, dumped it on the table in front of him, and dared him to eat it. Being the young man he was, Sam didn’t want to back down from the challenge – so he ate it. Soon after, Sam collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital, where it was discovered that he had contracted rat lungworm from the slug.
It is a condition typically occurring in animals like rats that happens as a result of eating or coming into contact with rat dung. For most humans, this condition goes away without leaving behind any symptoms.
But this wasn’t the case for Sam. His case of rat lungworm came with the risk of a brain infection – and sadly, it was a risk that came true. With diligent medical care, it seemed that he would make it past the infection, but without warning, he suddenly slipped into a coma. When he awoke, he was quadriplegic.
Sam is now 28 years old and relies solely on his mom for care, which he needs 24/7, and eats through a tube. His family and friends miss his bright spirit and it’s a shame that his bright future crumbled over a dare.
So the next time you’re dared to do something dumb, weigh the consequences before following through.