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Documentary details Steve Gleason's journey to Congressional medal

5 years 5 months 1 week ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 January 16, 2019 11:57 AM January 16, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ
Photo: NFL Network

NEW ORLEANS - A documentary chronicling the movement to award Steve Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal made its debut on NFL Network Tuesday night.

The 22-minute episode of 'NFL 360' comes just weeks after the successful campaign for the legendary former Saint to be awarded Congress' highest civilian honor.

Most famous for his blocked punt in the Saints' first game back in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina, Gleason became a symbol for the city's post-storm revitalization. He was diagnosed with ALS in the years following the 2006 season and launched the Gleason foundation, an organization pioneering efforts to develop and provide technology to help ALS patients.

Bill Cassidy, one of the Louisiana representatives who led the push to award Gleason the Congressional medal, spoke with the NFL Network on why the former athlete was so deserving of the award.

"Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Walt Disney, Jackie Robinson... I like to think of these as 'firsts'. Steve Gleason, he is an incredible first for someone with ALS, overcoming ALS, providing inspiration to all those with ALS," Senator Cassidy said.

The network also spoke with Gleason, who now uses a motorized wheelchair to move from place to place and a specialized, eye-reading computer to communicate. Despite ALS taking a toll on his physical health, he feels that he's shown its possible to overcome the illness.

"I actually feel f---ing great," Gleason said with a smile. "In many ways, I feel like I've conquered ALS. And more importantly, our foundation helps others who are diagnosed be fellow conquerors."

You can see the full piece, along with Gleason's emotional reaction to a years-old email from when he first received his diagnosis, by clicking HERE.

Gleason and his wife recently had their second child. They still regularly attend Saints home games, including this past weekend's playoff win against Philadelphia.

The Saints will play the Rams Sunday for a chance to move on to the Super Bowl.

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