Members of Atlanta yoga classes may once have disliked former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason. After all, in the first game held in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina, the former NFL safety blocked a key punt made by the Atlanta Falcons. However, today Gleason serves as an inspiration for most football fans, ever since he announced that he suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, the condition is a progressive neuromuscular disorder that increasingly impairs the ability of nerve cells to send signals to the muscles.
Despite experiencing serious reductions in his mobility, Gleason will act as honorary team captain in the upcoming game between the Saints and the Houston Texans, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The 34-year-old former NFL star has a history of being inspirational. Besides starting the literacy- and environmentalism-centric nonprofit One Sweet World Foundation, at one time he regularly donated to charity, studied Eastern philosophy and used yoga for managing personal change.
"Steve always marched to the beat of his own drum," former Saints player Scott Fujita told the news source. Even with his ALS, Gleason has no plans to slow down.
ALS affects roughly one in 20,000 Americans, according to the National Library of Medicine.