Former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason, 42, was recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony on Wednesday. He played seven seasons in the NFL, all with New Orleans.
Gleason has become “a leading advocate for people struggling with Lou Gehrig’s disease after he was diagnosed with the paralyzing illness,” said Fox News.
“We as a country, and more appropriately, we as a global species face enormous challenges in the coming decades of the 21st century. If we can keep exploring, share our weaknesses with each other and compassionately collaborate to solve problems, our human potential is boundless. If we can work to understand and solve each other’s problems and each other’s pain compassionately, then truly, all things are possible,” he said at the ceremony.
LIVE: Former New Orleans Saints player and ALS advocate Steve Gleason receives Congressional Gold Medal. https://t.co/xNfCj0AKk5
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 15, 2020
He received a standing ovation after receiving the medal which shows Gleason in a Saints jersey. The crowd included members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, team owner Gayle Benson, and current and former NFL commissioners Roger Goodell and Paul Tagliabue.
Fox News explained that Gleason is “best known for his exhilarating blocked punt from the Atlanta Falcons during the Saints’ first game in the rebuilt Superdome following 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The city was still rebuilding from the devastating hurricane when Gleason dove to block a punt in the opening minutes of the game against their rival.”
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Gleason was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January 2011. The disease left him paralyzed.
“I am honored and accept the Congressional Gold Medal for all the families who have been diagnosed with ALS, as well as anyone struggling to overcome life’s inevitable adversities,” said Gleason.