Former New Orleans Saints safety, Steve Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. His life with ALS was shown in the television documentary Gleason, with scenes from his life between 2011 and 2016. Here's an update on Steve Gleason's net worth and how he's doing eleven years after diagnosis.
Steve Gleason played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000 until 2006. He had a crucial role in the Sept. 25, 2006, Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons, blocking a punt. That move helped the Saints score their first touchdown in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina had hit the city.
Former NFL Player, ALS Research Ambassador
Net worth: $1 million
Steve Gleason is best known for having played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000 until 2006. In 2011, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with ALS, a terminal neuromuscular disease. He participated in the making of a documentary about his life with ALS, sharing his ups and downs with film crews for five years. He is still alive and working with Team Gleason, a foundation that helps ALS patients live better lives.
Birthdate: March 19, 1977
Birthplace: Spokane, Washington
Education: Washington State University
Spouse: Michel Varisco
What happened to Steve Gleason?
Gleason, whose blocked punt became somewhat of a symbol of the rebuilding of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, has a reported net worth of about $1 million. A bronze statue called "Rebirth," depicting Gleason's blocked punt stands outside the Superdome.
In 2011, Gleason publicly revealed that he had received a diagnosis of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. It's a rapidly progressing, fatal disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which control voluntary movement. No single cause is known, and there is no cure, only treatments to lengthen a patient's life or improve quality of life.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the prognosis is usually that patients die within three to five years of the onset of symptoms. About 10 percent of ALS patients live for 10 years or longer, as Gleason has done.
Steve Gleason is featured in a documentary and founder of an organization supporting ALS patients.
With filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, Gleason made a documentary about his life with ALS, Gleason. It also served as a video journal for his son Rivers (he and his wife Michel found out they were expecting their first child shortly after his diagnosis). His story is also featured in a 2013 episode of A Football Life, a documentary series.
With his wife, Gleason founded the 501(c)(3) organization Team Gleason to support individuals with ALS. Thus far, it has provided over $20 million to help patients with "adventure, technology, equipment, and care services."
Who is Steve Gleason's wife?
Steve Gleason's wife is Michel Varisco Gleason. The couple married in 2008 and now have two children together. Their son, Rivers, was born within the first year after his ALS diagnosis, and their daughter Gray was born in 2018. Varisco has been her husband's supporter throughout the progression of his disease and told ESPN in 2021 that his battle still comes with daily challenges.
In that Father's Day tribute, son Rivers said, "Dad, I think you're a great leader, and you teach us to be resilient in hard times." Gleason had known from his son's birth that they would not have the traditional father-son relationship. In a video journal, he said to his baby son, "I'm going to be around, buddy. It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be awesome."
Steve Gleason recently spent time in the hospital.
In September of 2022, Gleason was hospitalized with critically low sodium levels and ongoing hiccups, leading doctors to worry he might develop pneumonia. That illness could have easily been fatal to Gleason due to his ALS, but he was released after a few days.