Former Saint, ALS patient Gleason has tracheotomy

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Former Saints player Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis more than three years ago, has had a tracheotomy to help his breathing.

Following the surgery to open the airway in his neck on Monday night, an update posted on the Team Gleason website states that Gleason "looks great," and that the surgery "will enable him to be more active in his mission to continue living a productive and rich life as a husband, father, adventurer and advocate for the end of ALS."

The procedure is common among people living with ALS. Also called Lou Gehrig's disease, it eventually causes patients to become paralyzed.

Gleason was a Saints special teams standout from 2000 through 2006, famously blocking a punt the night the Superdome first reopened after Hurricane Katrina.

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