The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to award Steve Gleason the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow on a civilian, NFL Media reports.
The U.S. Senate unanimously endorsed the award, with President Trump expected to sign the legislation into law soon for Gleason to receive his Congressional Gold Medal next year. No current or former NFL player ever has won the award.
The former Saints defensive back’s battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis has raised awareness of ALS as well as money for research of the disease. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, which Gleason helped organize and publicize, led to more than $100 million in donations.
“Through his work to help others who are disabled, Steve Gleason has changed so many lives for the better,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said in a statement Thursday. “As more members of Congress heard about Steve’s work, the support for this bill only grew. Steve is a hero to many, and I’m proud we got this done to honor a great American.”
Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic Team are among the athletes previously honored.