ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Brian Ruscio and Jorge Rodriguez of Grappling Mastery
Brian Ruscio and Jorge Rodriguez of Grappling Mastery

Gracie Barra Black Belt Brian Ruscio, Assistant Instructor Rita Rojas, and Jorge Rodriguez were all challenged to the ALS ice bucket challenge within the same 24 hours.  Initially challenged by one of Grappling Mastery’s MMA fighters Aron “The Trendsetter” Bland, who is in the Army and was challenged by one of his Brothers in Arms, and then Onilee Ruscio (my wonderful mom), we took the challenge.  See the video below, and above all be sure to visit to make a donation to benefit the cause.  You can read more about ALS below.

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Just what is ALS?


Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Ending the career of one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, the disease is still most closely associated with his name. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.


Lou Gehrig, The Iron Horse of Baseball

Most commonly, ALS strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. ALS has cut short the lives of other such notable and courageous individuals as Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actors Michael Zaslow and David Niven, creator of Sesame Street Jon Stone, television producer Scott Brazil, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, pro football player Glenn Montgomery, golfer Jeff Julian, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, British soccer player Jimmy Johnstone, musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter), photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, jazz musician Charles Mingus, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace and U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor.

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