Steve Gleason, the former WSU football standout who started a charity to empower those living with ALS following his own 2011 diagnosis, recently received the highest honor the United States Congress can bestow on a civilian.
Gleason (’00 Bus.) received the CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL on January 15, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
His Team Gleason charity works to raise awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscle movement. There is no known cure. So far, the foundation has provided nearly $10 million in technology, equipment, and other services to more than 15,000 people living with the disease. His own struggle with ALS is documented in the 2016 film simply titled Gleason.
In 2017, Gleason received WSU’s highest alumni honor with the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Gleason helped WSU reach the Rose Bowl in 1998 and went on to play seven seasons in the NFL—all with the New Orleans Saints. His electrifying 2006 punt-blocking dive at the start of the Saints’ first game in the newly rebuilt Superdome boosted morale throughout the hurricane-ravaged city. Outside the stadium today, the play is immortalized in a 9-foot bronze statue called “Rebirth.”
No White Flags (Spring 2016)