The teenager then faced more struggles, as he became paralysed and was unable to eat or go to the bathroom by himself.
One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment. The conversation came up, you know.
When Sam Ballard's friends dared him to eat a slug that was crawling across the patio in 2010, the 19-year-old accepted the challenge without a second thought. Bang. That's how it happened'.
Sam was anxious he might have developed Multiple sclerosis, like his father, but that was ruled out.
Within hours he fell seriously ill and it was later discovered that he had been infected with rat lungworm.
Lungworm is a condition often found in rodents, but it is also possible for slugs and snails to carry the disease.
While many people recover from the infection, Sam suffered brain damage from which he never recovered.
Last week, eight years after he fell ill, Ballard passed away at the age of 28.
Two families killed in Sicily after floods submerged their home
The bloc has objected to Italy's proposed budget, which it says will worsen the country's already huge deficit. Three other members of the family managed to escape, one by climbing a tree, the Agi news agency reported.
"We have some sad news for you now". "He contracted rat lung disease with devastating effects".
Other close friends of Sam's admitted the "shock" they felt when visiting him in hospital.
Sam has passed away eight years after contracting the infection. When he did, the former rugby standout "just started bawling his eyes out".
"So, you know he's there", Galvin said.
He said: 'When I walked in, he was very very gaunt, and there were cables everywhere - it was a big shock'.
He later added: "We like to sit down and watch the footy and watch the rugby".
"It made his day", his mates said. His mother Katie, who cared for him full-time, was by his side, and Sam was able to express his gratitude to her.
However, in September 2017, she was told this was being cut to AUD $135,000 - a move Katie says has left her family heavily in debt.
Katie applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2016 and Sam was granted a AUD $492,000 package.