NFL Player Tackles ALS

Central Coast NFL Player Tackles ALS

Posted: Jan 20, 2012 6:34 PM PST
Updated: Jan 20, 2012 6:34 PM PST
By Nick Emmons

Scott Fujita talks about ALS

SALINAS, Calif. – For football fans in New Orleans, LA, Steve Gleason was never a household name until “the block heard ‘round the world.” It was Monday Night Football, and the first big game in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. Gleason burst through the line to block a punt in the game’s first series that resulted in a touchdown. It was a big play on special teams, but a bigger metaphor symbolizing the rebirth of an entire city.

That was in 2006. Today Gleason is a far cry from blocking punts to win games. Instead, the 34 year old is trying to win a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Right by his side, though, is Carmel Valley Resident, and former Saints teammate Scott Fujita, who is raising awareness about ALS through Team Gleason. “It’s a horrific disease; I lost an uncle to it 15-16 years ago.”
Fujita now plays for the Cleveland Browns, and has traveled the country hoping to inspire others to join Team Gleason and to donate to the fight against ALS, a disease with no cure. “All of us, we want to be inspired, Steve inspires people, this story inspires people.”
The goal of Team Gleason is to not only raise awareness and funding for research, but to raise the spirits of ALS patients by giving them opportunities of a lifetime. This February, Team Gleason is sending one lucky patient to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, IN. “A big part of the foundation’s mission is to help empower people to want to survive.”
ALS affects neurons in the brain, and is incredibly aggressive. The typical life span is just 2 to 5 years after diagnosis. “For patients like Steve, to face a disease like this with such courage, and to say listen I’m not going to let this disease dictate how I live my life…to me it’s just so inspirational.”

Fujita says Gleason has often visited him at his home in Carmel Valley, and the Central Coast even has a special place in his heart. “He’s connected to this region too, and I hope they show him the same support.”

If you’re interested in donating to Team Gleason, or to learn more about ALS, just visit www.team¬¬gleason.org

Filed in: Press Room • Friday, January 20th, 2012

Comments

By Elizabeth Porada on February 5th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

My nephew Michael died in 2008 at the age of 32 from ALS. He was a college All-American baseball player. That being said, my family knows all about ALS and what it does to a person. Thank GOD you are making people more aware of this horrible disease. God Bless you and Steve Gleason and may they find a cure for him. My prayers will be with Steve and his family.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth

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About

Scott Fujita

Scott Fujita was born in Ventura, California on April 28, 1979. He was a three-sport standout at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, CA before heading to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with Honors in Political Science and earned a Masters degree in Education.

Fujita has played in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. Read more