The young rugby player ate the slug at a party in 2010 when aged only 19, unaware that the animal was infected with rat lungworm.
He contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis and fell into a coma for 420 days.
While many people recover from the infection, Sam suffered brain damage from which he never recovered.
He endured numerous medical complications since the initial infection, including suffering from seizures, being unable to control his body temperature and having to be tube fed.
Sam did not become sick immediately after the party in 2010, but complained of serious leg pain in the days that followed.
He expressed concern he had developed Multiple Sclerosis like his father, but doctors later confirmed he had contracted rat lungworm.
Sam spent three years in hospital after falling ill, but was later released in a motorised wheelchair.
His mother, Katie Ballard, noted that while he was initially unable to move, he later regained some movement.
She also said she does not blame Sam’s friends for the dare, and said they were just “being mates”.
Ms Ballard nevertheless previously acknowledged how the incident had “devastated” her and her son’s lives, saying: “It’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. The impact is huge.”
One of Sam’s friends, Jimmy Galvin, who was present at the party, described the event as a “red wine appreciation night”.
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.
“The conversation came up, ‘Should I eat it?’. Off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”
Mr Galvin said he apologised to Sam personally following the event, and admitted he “started bawling his eyes out” when he did so.
Other close friends of Sam’s admitted the “shock” they felt when visiting him in hospital.
Michael Sheasby said: “When I walked in, he was very, very gaunt, and there were cables everywhere.”
“It was a big shock.”
More to follow…
Source : EXPRESS