NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal lawmakers from Louisiana and Washington have submitted legislation to award former New Orleans Saints and Washington State football player Steve Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana and a doctor who helped sponsor the legislation, seeks to honor Gleason for his work as an advocate for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The 41-year-old Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. He's spearheaded efforts through the Team Gleason foundation to develop and provide technology to help ALS patients live longer, more fulfilling lives. Those include devices that track eye movements to help people who are paralyzed type words that can be transformed into speech. Gleason has used the technology to communicate, post messages on social media, address lawmakers from around the world and give motivational speeches to athletes.

Congress this year approved the Gleason Act, which provided funding to help ALS patients get those devices. The legislation submitted Thursday is sponsored by Democratic and Republican senators and representatives from Washington and Louisiana.

The bill must be passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president before the medal can be awarded.

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