clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


Former New Orleans Saint/ALS advocate Steve Gleason takes #IceBucketChallenge naked, reminds us why it exists

Former NFL player Steve Gleason had ice dumped over his head, reminding us the reason we're dumping ice over our heads is those affected by ALS like Gleason himself.

Social media has been overtaken by people -- our friends, our family members, celebrities -- dumping buckets of ice over their head in the name of charity, specifically raising awareness of ALS and cash for research.

And as sometimes happens when people do charitable things, there's been a rash of cynicism. By dumping water on our heads, what are we actually doing for ALS? How many people who dump ice donate cash? How much of this is just an opportunity for us to laugh and tag our friends on Facebook and look like we care about other people? Is this really charity, or just a superficial attempt to look like we care about people?

If you're one of those cynics, please watch the above video of Steve Gleason.

If you're unfamiliar with Gleason: He used to play for the New Orleans Saints, recording a key punt block in the team's first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. After playing eight seasons with the Saints, he retired in 2008. Just three years later, he announced he was battling ALS. Just three years after that, at the age of 37, he is completely wheelchair-bound.

Gleason serves as a reminder of what ALS does. It robs healthy humans of their ability to move their muscles, trapping their very-much-active brain inside a body that no longer functions.

In Gleason's video, he reminds us that he is still Steve Gleason, a former NFL player who can make funny jokes about being naked. He also reminds us that he is someone who can't move his arms and legs, and requires a system that reads his eye motions and produces a computer voice in order to speak. While others are dumping water over their own heads, Gleason requires somebody to do the dumping.

Those of us who have lost a loved one to ALS do not need a reminder of what ALS does to recently healthy relatives and friends. Most of America does need that reminder. And perhaps Gleason, a living reminder, dumping a bucket of ice over his head will be enough to convince a few Americans -- perhaps even you! -- to donate to the ALS Association.

Follow Steve Gleason on Twitter, where he is funny and talks about his NFL days, or watch this absolutely heartrending video about his relationship with his favorite band, Pearl Jam, and his family.

Also, Steve made us realize how suggestive a fleur-de-lys is. Thank you for covering up your genitals with a fleur-de-lis.

(Via: Purpose 2 Play)