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Concussions, Potholes, and Sandra Bland: Friday’s Show (January 8, 2016)

Late last month, as Will Smith’s film Concussion debuted in the theaters, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that supposedly the NFL backed out of giving “unrestricted” funds to the National Institutes of Health for a study exploring football’s relationship to brain damage because the league didn’t like the doctor who would lead it. On this edition of Houston […]

Late last month, as Will Smith’s film Concussion debuted in the theaters, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that supposedly the NFL backed out of giving “unrestricted” funds to the National Institutes of Health for a study exploring football’s relationship to brain damage because the league didn’t like the doctor who would lead it.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we learn more from Houston Chronicle sports columnist Brian T. Smith, and then discuss the latest thinking on concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) with Dr. Kenneth Podell, Co-Director of Houston Methodist’s Concussion Center.

Then: Some low income neighborhoods in Houston have long had limited or no easy access to grocery stores. Despite a push a few years back from both the White House and local officials, that situation hasn’t changed much. We talk with Houston Chronicle reporter John Harden, who’s compiled data on the current state of food deserts in the city.

Also this hour: From Trooper Brian Encinia’s arrest and indictment for perjury in connection with his summer 2015 arrest of Sandra Bland, the woman found hanged three days later in a Waller County jail, to new Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s pledge to “assess and address” potholes reported by Houstonians within 24 hours, we turn to our “non-expert” panel to discuss The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of this week’s news.

Plus: Area comedian Ty Mahany joins us on Houston Matters from time to time. You may know him best for his acerbic wit, but he’s also a well-respected storyteller. In 2014, he won the grand slam competition at the Houston edition of The Moth StorySLAM, and his true-life, first-person accounts have also been presented at Bootown’s Grown-up Storytime events. He shares one of his stories with us today, which dates back to his previous career in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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