Former NFL Player Steve Gleason to Receive Congressional Gold Medal

Steve Gleason
Getty Images/Sasha Haagesen

Former New Orleans Saints player and ALS awareness advocate Steve Gleason is set to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, a report says.

The award, the highest national honor that a civilian can receive, will be bestowed upon the former NFL player in a ceremony to be held on Wednesday, January 15, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Gleason became a Saints hero for blocking a punt in a game against the Atlanta Falcons in a key Monday Night Football game after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Saints fans felt the block symbolized that the team and the city both were revitalized after the destructive hurricane.

But in January of 2011, Gleason was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The diagnosis spurred the player to found Team Gleason, a charitable organization that has raised more than $10 million for people living with the disease.

“Steve Gleason has shown tremendous courage and resolve in the face of ALS. He has remained positive in the face of extreme adversity, inspiring all who hear his story. Steve deserves this medal, and I look forward to his presentation ceremony,” Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said in his announcement of the award.

“Steve Gleason is a true Louisiana hero, not only for his time as a New Orleans Saint, but even more through the bravery and courage he has displayed as a leading advocate in championing the fight against ALS. I was proud to help pass the Congressional Gold Medal legislation for Steve Gleason, and I look forward to his historic presentation ceremony. This recognition is a true testament to how powerful a mark Steve has made not only in our community, but across the country. His spirit and determination serve as an inspiration to us all, and I can think of no better way to honor him,” added House Republican Whip Steve Scalise.

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