NEW ORLEANS — A collection of state legislators from Louisiana have recently submitted a proposal to award former New Orleans Saints and Washington State football player Steve Gleason the Congressional Gold Medal. They hope to honor Gleason with this award — the highest of civilian Congressional honors — for his work and advocacy for those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS.
Gleason, most famous for his 2006 punt block that came on the first night of the Superdome’s reopening following Hurricane Katrina, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Through his own partnership with the Team Gleason Foundation, he has led efforts to provide medical research and technology to allow ALS patients to live longer and healthier in the face of their condition.
Just this year, Congress approved the Gleason Act, which provided greater funding to the allocation of new technology to ALS patients, including intuitive communication devices that allow paralyzed individuals to transform text into speech with eye movements.
The legislation was submitted this past Thursday and is sponsored by many Washington and Louisiana congressmen.
Senator Patty Murray of Washington, one co-sponsor, praised of Gleason “his biggest impact as a tireless advocate in the health world” and his efforts to “[change] countless lives for the better.”
The bill must be passed by the House and Senate, and later must be signed into law by the president before the medal can be awarded, but support for his consideration holds strong in the halls of Congress