Man dies eight years after eating slug on a dare

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In the days after swallowing the slug, Ballard developed pains in his legs and was hospitalized after spells of persistent dizziness and vomiting.

Speaking to The Project, he said: "We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across".

Sam Ballard was just 19 years old and a star rugby player when he pulled the silly stunt in 2010 while drinking with pals, news.com.au reported.

One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment.

"The conversation came up, should I eat it?" Bang. That's how it happened'.

But tragically, she later said his life would forever be scarred by the horror. Fearing it could have been Multiple Sclerosis (MS) like what his father had, Sam's mother took him to the doctor.

After initial tests, doctors discovered that he had been infected with rat lungworm, which resulted in an infection in his brain.

From there, Ballard contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which many people recover from.

The disease sent him into a 420-day coma and when he woke up, he was quadriplegic.

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He told his mom Katie Ballard that he ate the worm but she brushed off his concerns.

Last week, eight years after he fell ill, Ballard passed away at the age of 28.

Australian newsreader Lisa Wilkinson, working for Network 10, broke the news on Sunday, saying: "We have some sad news for you now".

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.

Other close friends of Sam's admitted the "shock" they felt when visiting him in hospital.

"On Friday, Sam passed away, surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates".

"He had his voice and he said "I love you" several times to Katie".

While he was initially unable to move his limbs, the former Barker College student worked hard to regain some movement.

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