The High Five
9:14 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Cowboys Legend Tony Dorsett Has Degenerative Brain Disease

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A Cowboys legend has a brain disease, a group with Arlington ties gets a YouTube award, a recap of the president's visit to Dallas and more.

Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett shows signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition that’s reportedly caused by head trauma. It’s also linked to depression and dementia. ESPN reported the news on Wednesday. The former Cowboys running back, now 59, underwent brain scans and clinical evaluations over the past three months at UCLA. ESPN reported: “CTE is indicated by a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that strangles brain cells in areas that control memory, emotions and other functions. Autopsies of more than 50 ex-NFL players, including Hall of Famer Mike Webster and perennial All-Pro Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, found such tau concentrations.” Dorsett described to ESPN the various symptoms he’s experienced, including memory loss, depression and thoughts of suicide. “When he took his Oct. 21 flight from Dallas to Los Angeles for testing, he repeatedly struggled to remember why he was aboard the plane and where he was going,” ESPN reported. “Such episodes, he said, are commonplace when he travels.” CTE was explored in an explosive PBS documentary that recently aired on KERA-TV that investigated concussions in the NFL.  “It’s enlightening to know what I have, what I’m dealing with,” Dorsett told The Dallas Morning News. “Now it’s time to find out, how can we can come back from it? I actually was told [by researchers] that it can be reversed. I was like, ‘What?’ They said, ‘Yeah, it can be reversed, slowed down, stopped.’”

Here's the PBS Frontline special "League of Denial":

  • And the YouTube Award goes to … Yes, YouTube has launched its own awards ceremony. Pentatonix, the a capella group with Arlington ties, won the Response of the Year category. The award is for the group’s remix of “Radioactive” with Lindsey Stirling. YouTube describes the category this way: “Based on what you watched, shared and loved over the last 12 months, these nominees are the five best videos that remixed, covered, parodied or responded to an original song on YouTube.” Pentatonix has been getting lots of media love lately. NPR’s Morning Edition explored the group on this morning’s program. “Pentatonix is a five-person singing group that formed to compete in the NBC a cappella competition show “The Sing-Off.” Three of its members were friends from high school, but the full group met for the first time just hours before the show to rehearse. Pentatonix ended up winning the competition.” Bass vocalist Avi Kaplan told NPR: "We try to do it in a way where you don't think of it as vocal music; you just think of it as music — as just a song that you're listening to and you don't miss anything. We're just a band, and we just happen to use our voices."

Here’s the “Radioactive” remix that won Response of the Year:

And here’s Pentatonix’s remix of Daft Punk songs. It’s been viewed more than 4 million times (on    YouTube, of course) since it was released on Monday.

  • One Crisis Away: Did you know that one in three North Texans can’t weather a financial storm that lasts 90 days? The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn’t discriminate. A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble is enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. This week, KERA launched a series, One Crisis Away, that explores these issues and is following four families on the financial edge. On Wednesday, “Think” explored the topic, focusing on financial literacy.
  • Jennifer Staubach Gates is a lifesaver. The Dallas City Council member saved an elderly man’s life by performing CPR on him at a North Dallas restaurant on Monday night. The Dallas Morning News reported that Gates was eating dinner at The Mercury when a waiter came by looking for a medical professional to help a diner who was choking. The man was foaming at the mouth. Gates, a registered nurse and the daughter of Cowboy legend Roger Staubach, started chest compressions before the man threw up and regained consciousness, the News reported. “I thought he was dead,” she told the newspaper. “I thought he was gone.”

And, today, we have a sixth item:

  • DMN to print the S-T: This would have seemed unimaginable 10 years ago, but The Dallas Morning News will soon print the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. No, the Morning News is not buying the Star-Telegram; they will maintain separate newsrooms and operations. But the Star-Telegram will no longer be printed in southwest Fort Worth; instead it will be printed in Plano. About 75 full-time and 200 part-time Star-Telegram employees will lose their jobs. Across the country, newspapers have consolidated their printing presses to save money. The Morning News already prints a variety of newspapers, including regional editions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and others.