Steve Gleason will be inducted into the Washington State University Athletics Hall Of Fame, all by himself as the lone member of the class of 2014, and will be recognized at Martin Stadium between the first and second quarters of the 2014 Apple Cup. Gleason made his return to Pullman on Friday afternoon, on a private flight from New Orleans. He was last in town for a game in 2011, when the Cougars met Arizona State -- and beat the Sun Devils on the back of a huge performance by Connor Halliday.
Back then, shortly after his diagnosis, Gleason spent time talking to players, the team, and held court with the media. Everyone walked away inspired. They all spoke highly of Gleason, and saved the game ball for him.
That's who Gleason is, and that's what he does. He continues to inspire as he battles ALS and fights to raise awareness and money to find a cure.
We can talk about his accomplishments: multiple All-Pac-10 honors both for his on-field performance and his performance in the classroom. There's the NFL career that made him the stuff of legends in New Orleans, including … well, you know:
That play is, and forever will be, immortalized outside the Superdome, as it should be. We know all about what he's done on the field and it pales in comparison to everything he's done off it.
After his playing career, he was diagnosed with ALS, a condition that leaves the mind but takes the body. His motor skills have deteriorated quickly, but that hasn't stopped him from putting the same effort he did into raising awareness about ALS as he did on the field. He continues to battle and lead the way in the fight against ALS.
I'm just going to leave some things to watch here, and even if you already have seen them you should spend a few minutes with these videos again.
There isn't a lot to say about Gleason that hasn't already been said. He's an inspiration, tougher than nails, and continues to live life to the fullest every day. There isn't a better man to go into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame, and he'll do so all by himself in an unprecedented move.
If you're in Pullman: be loud and give him the ovation and recognition he deserves. If you're at home, do the same. And then go donate to the cause.