Steve Gleason, former defensive from New Orleans Saints has been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He was diagnosed with the disease back in 2011 and had retired from the game back in 2008. Steve Gleason moved away from active life and started living with his wife, Michel in New Orleans and Washington. Many believed that Steve Gleason’s Daredevil style of playing was the side-effect of ALS.
After Gleason and his wife Michel discovered that she was pregnant, the couple made the decision to go ahead with the pregnancy, in spite of knowing that Steve will require complete attention and care once his ALS gets worse. Sadly, there is also a chance of Gleason passing away in four or five years after the ALS progresses.
ALS is a disease that hasn’t seen a lot of attention, and as such many people around the world are completely unaware of it. It has been defined as “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord“. Steve Gleason, in his struggle against ALS, has decided to spread awareness of the disease. For this reason he has launched a group called ‘Team Gleason’ that spreads awareness about ALS, and also works as a charity for the patients who are in of help.
Gleason’s struggle with ALS has been recorded as a documentary called “Gleason”. A favorite in the film festivals across the world, including Sundance Film Festival, the film shows how Steve Gleason has to struggle with the terminal disease and his continuous effort to help those affected by the disease.
Inverse reported that Gleason is well aware of the fact that he may have only a little time with his son, Rivers. He wants his son to remember the father he had after he is long gone and hence he is keeping a video journal.
He knows that he might not be around when Rivers is a young man and he wants his son to have the opportunity to know what his father went through and what kind of a man he was. Hence he puts in plenty of effort and long hours to record everything in the live journal.
Gleason, the film shows the journey of Steve Gleason over the course of five years. It points out all the important moments in his life, and illustrates how the polarities of his family life become clearer to him as his disease progresses.
The film has been made with an invasive voice-over and includes interviews with different people from Steve Gleason’s life. The film incorporates Gleason’s documentation of the decline in his health along with the video journals that he has been making for his son. Gleason takes the viewers into the world of ALS and how Gleason struggled with the disease and people’s understanding of it.
Clay Tweel has come out make a film that documents Gleason’s life, through his eyes, with his struggles and emotions playing through. He brings in an outsiders’ perspective on the daily struggles and emotional journey that Steve Gleason and his family has been going through since his diagnosis with ALS.
Gleason beautifully brings to light the dichotomy that Steve Gleason went through. He has always been a popular footballer, and public attention and adulation have always been natural for him.
However, things changed after he was diagnosed with ALS. The admiration turned into sympathy. Steve struggled with his desire to feel important and with his familial obligation as his disease progressed.