Former Saints’ Steve “Gleason” Fights ALS

michael-koenen-steve-gleason-nfl-san-diego-chargers-new-orleans-saints-590x900Longtime Saints fans know Steve Gleason and remember what he did. On September 25, 2006 Gleason blocked an Atlanta Falcons punt during the first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. It’s an important moment in Saints history, during a time when the city desperately needed something to shift their minds away from the pain and agony they endured during the disaster.

A lot has changed for Gleason since his departure from the game he loves. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, (ALS), and has lived with it for over five years. The disease has devastated Gleason’s body. He is now completely paralyzed and uses a mobile wheelchair with an eye-tracking device to communicate. However, Gleason’s mind, determination, and will to survive are undiminished.

On June 15, a documentary about Steve’s life titled “Gleason” premiered in New Orleans. The film highlights Steve’s resiliency as a former player and the challenges of ALS. Many from the Saints organization were in attendance including head coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees, and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita.

Drew Brees an executive producer on the film described it as “raw and real.”

“It’s a story about fatherhood on a couple different levels,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “It’s a story about faith, it’s a story about friendship, about love and how to live your life to the fullest and just everything that Steve stands for and why I think it’s one of the greatest and most powerful films I’ve ever seen.”

Scott Fujita is a longtime friend of Gleason is a producer on the documentary.

“Gleason” opens nationwide July 29.

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