Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saint and ALS advocate, will receive the Congressional Gold Medal on January 15 in the United Sates Capitol. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow on a civilian. Gleason will be the first NFL player to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. Fewer than 200 people have been awarded the medal, as it requires an act of Congress.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. was the original filer of the legislation to award the medal to Gleason.
“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,” said Dr. Cassidy.
Gleason became a Saints icon after blocking a key punt against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football in the team’s first game back in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in January 2011. He would go on to create Team Gleason, a charitable organization that has provided almost $10 million in adventure, technology, equipment and care services to more than 15,000 people living with ALS.