No white flags. That’s what Steve Gleason tweeted Tuesday morning, just hours after he stopped breathing, became unresponsive and was whisked away to a New Orleans hospital from the Superdome, where he had been watching Monday night’s game between his beloved Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Someone who was there described it as the scariest thing he’s ever witnessed, and that’s saying a mouthful considering NFL games often are not for the faint of heart. Another person near the retired safety’s side says this was not a life-risking episode at all, just another chilling flash in the existence of a person suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig's disease.
Unless the universe has a miracle up her sleeve—and what fun would life be if we stopped believing in miracles?—Gleason will have more and more of these cruel moments as the days grow long. He made a small fortune in a career defined by hard numbers, and right now the statistics are not anywhere in his favor.
So you know what he does? Even though he is confined to a wheelchair and struggles to speak, he surrounds himself with people who are battling even tougher stats. In this way, the public might see the effort and the undying devotion and the patience and the frustration and the unwavering belief that rides shotgun with so many of his fellow ALS teammates.