Steve Gleason: The Unbreakable Saint

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New Orleans Saints Moments vs. Atlanta Falcons
October 7, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; A statue titled Rebirth featuring the likeness of former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason blocking a punt by former Atlanta Falcons punter Michael Koenen on September 25, 2006 as seen outside before a game against the San Diego Chargers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

The Lasting Legacy of an Ongoing Battle

Steve Gleason is a champion. He was awarded a Super Bowl ring for helping spark the team even though he didn’t play. But that title goes well beyond the realm of sports.

He is a champion of willpower. For many, ALS is a nail in the coffin. Gleason has accomplished more since his diagnosis in about five years than his entire life before it.

He is a champion of the people. In a single moment one September evening, he signified the rebirth of a city, and for it, he was awarded football immortality in his enshrinement outside the Superdome. His own story mimics that of his place in New Orleans history. Facing seemingly insurmountable odds, he, like the people of New Orleans, was stricken with fear. Fear that this is the way it’s always going to be. Whether it’s that their home and life will be forever ruined, or that you may never walk again, they both overcame. Steve Gleason is so tightly woven into the history of the Saints and his city, he will be remembered forever.

Much like the Saints of the Catholic religion, Gleason can teach us many virtues about life. Through his adventures, we have learned so much about mortality, bravery, courage, love, forgiveness and countless other things.

It’s a masterful job of beating around the bush (If I do say so myself) to wait 4,000 words before calling Steve Gleason a true Saint but better late than never.

Steve Gleason is a Saint

He is a hero. Objectively for what he has done for the ALS community, for what he did on a football field, and what he has done in the twilight of his life.

If you take anything away from the story of Steve Gleason, it is to cherish every single second on this Earth. The movement of your legs and basic human autonomy is not guaranteed. You should know that nothing is impossible. Several people with no strength in their bodies, confined to wheelchairs, made it to Machu Picchu through the jungle and mountainous terrain. A man whose muscles have lost the ability to form speech spoke loudest on the Senate floor through his actions and created a bill to help people.

Steve Gleason is living life to his fullest as a constant reminder for US to worship every beat of your heart that comes next.

Gleason has so much to teach us, and it’s best we start listening.

Thanks to everyone who helped along the way. So many people reached out to me to give me their accounts of the Gleason block game. It was tremendously helpful. Gleason has been my hero for a long time, and ever since I started writing I’ve wanted to write about this. I could have gone for much longer and I’ll probably never be satisfied with the result. 

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