You know - when "friends" dare you to do something stupid - just don't do it. Back in 2010, Sam Ballard of Australia took an ill-advised dare from his friends - and just died from complications related to that challenge. He was only 27 years old. Eight years ago, during a night of drinking, his buddies egged him on to eat a slug. Yes - a live slug. Ballard did, and soon after he started feeling pain in his legs. Then came the vomiting and dizzy spells. He ended up falling into a coma for more than a year, and the reason was stunning: He'd been infected with rat lungworm, a parasite usually found in rodents, but which can occasionally end up in snails and slugs if they eat rat excrement. As a result of the parasite, Ballard contracted a type of meningitis tied to rat lungworm, and things went downhill from there. The former rugby player had since had limited movement in his limbs, needed help going to the bathroom and eating, and had trouble communicating. Ballard's mother, who has said she doesn't blame his friends for the slug-eating dare, has been fighting the Australian government since at least last October, when her son's disability funding was significantly cut. Reportedly, Ballard's final words to his mom were: "I love you." (New Zealand Herald)
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A 33-year-old British endurance athlete just became the first person to swim around the coast of Great Britain! Ross Edgley spent 157 days in the water and covered 1,791 miles. He swam in six-hour stints, sleeping in his support boat. He was joined for the final mile by hundreds of fellow swimmers, coming ashore at Margate in southeast England-the spot where he began his journey on June 1. Edgley, who had hoped to finish in 100 days, told family members who gathered on the beach to greet him: "Sorry I'm late." The World Open Water Swimming Association says Edgley endured spells of wild weather and was stung by jellyfish 37 times during his swim, which was sponsored by the energy drink Red Bull. Organizers said he also broke records for the longest staged sea swim-doubling the previous 73 days-and for the fastest swim between Britain's southernmost and northernmost points, Land's End and John O'Groats. He covered the distance in 62 days. (Newser)