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Dallas Cowboy Legends Struggle: Wright Has Dementia, While Dorsett Has Brain Condition

Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett shows signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition that’s reportedly caused by head trauma.";

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Two retired Cowboys open up about memory loss; Marlise Muñoz’s husband said she made him a better man; the Cliburn piano contest launches an event just for teens; and more.

Two retired Dallas Cowboy stars are in the news due to their brain conditions that could be linked to head trauma suffered during their NFL days. Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright told The New York Times he has dementia. Another Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett, opened up to D magazine about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain condition that’s reportedly caused by head trauma. Wright said he had been “too proud” to tell anybody. “You don’t want people to look at you any differently,” he told the Times. “When you’ve been at the top of the NFL, you don’t want people to know. You’re supposed to be tough and invincible.” Dorsett told D: “‘I was in denial’ -- he hits the word preacher-hard -- ‘for a long time. Because I was just, ‘Nah, this can’t be happening to me at this age.’” CTE was explored in an explosive “Frontline” documentary that recently aired on KERA-13 that investigated concussions in the NFL.

  • Before Marlise Muñoz, the North Texas woman who was brain-dead and pregnant, was taken off life support, her husband says he decided to name what would have been the couple's second child. Erick Muñoz told The Associated Press he gave the 23-week-old fetus the name of Nicole, his late wife's middle name. Marlise Muñoz was taken off life support Sunday, two months after she fell unconscious at home, likely due to a blood clot. A judge on Friday had ordered John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth to take Muñoz off life support by Monday. Erick Muñoz talked with WFAA-TV this week about his wife. “She made me a better man, and I thank her for it. I thank her very much,” he told the station.

  • The organization that conducts the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has announced it’s launching a contest for talented teenagers. The Cliburn says the first Cliburn International Junior Competition and Festival will be held in June 2015. Thirteen- to 17-year-olds will compete in Fort Worth. Jacques Marquis, Cliburn CEO, told KERA’s Jerome Weeks: “What we want to do is not only to do a competition but give them some tools and also some ideas of a career by people who are already there.” Twenty-four contestants will be chosen and they’ll vie for prizes up to $10,000. Cliburn died last year at age 78. Read more at KERA’s Art&Seek. [The Associated Press]

  • Get a look inside the health tech startup boom, and figure out how to find your place in it, by joining KERA’s #TXHealthTech twitter chat today from 2 to 3 p.m. Post your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #TXHealthTech. KERA health reporter Lauren Silverman (@lsilverwoman) will host the conversation. Our featured guest is healthcare startup guru Hubert Zajicek (@hubertzajicek), the executive director of Health Wildcatters (@HWildcatters) – a mentorship-driven healthcare seed accelerator. To easily follow the conversation, use TweetChat and follow the hashtag #TXHealthTech. Learn more about today’s chat on KERA’s Breakthroughs blog.

  • Pentatonix, the a capella group with Arlington roots, continues to dominate the airwaves, this time with an appearance on “Sesame Street.”  Watch Pentatonix count – and sing – to five. “Nobody has ever counted to five as beautifully and harmoniously as Pentatonix has,” Sesame Street declares. Pentatonix appears on “Sesame Street”Feb. 7 – the show airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on KERA-13 -- or you can watch the video below:

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.