President Obama officially signs Steve Gleason Act into law


On Wednesday, July 15, former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason saw his fight against ALS score a huge victory when The House passed the Steve Gleason Act. Now, it’s officially a law. David Vitter, United States Senator for Louisiana, broke the news this evening that President Obama signed the act into law.

The act was originally introduced by Vitter back in late January in Washington, D.C. The Senate signed the bill back in April, and The House approved of the Steve Gleason Act just over two weeks ago.

Gleason, who turned 38 in March, played football for the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2007. He holds a special place in the hearts of many Saints fans for his blocked punt in the ‘Domecoming’ Monday Night Football game in 2006. In 2011, Gleason revealed that he was facing the ultimate battle, ALS. Commonly known as Lou Gherig’s disease, there is no cure. However, that hasn’t stopped Gleason from fighting for the cause. The speech generating device technology helps Gleason communicate daily.

The Steve Gleason Act is one of two bills geared towards helping people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS affects about 2 people per 100,000 yearly. It’s officially classified as a terminal neuro-muscular disease, which results in the death of neurons that control voluntary muscles.

The act ensures patients battling diseases like ALS, gain access to speech generating devices. As per the act, the legislation is in response to policy changes by Medical and Medicaid that limited access to this technology.

This is a huge victory for Team Gleason, and it’s well deserved. The hope remains that the awareness continues to spread, and ultimately a cure can be produced in our lifetime.

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