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The Beautiful Brain

Written by: Hana Walker-Brown
Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (48 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Silver Sports Podcast award at the 2020 British Podcast Awards

This is a story about the beautiful game – football. (Or soccer, as it's known in Canada). The highs, the lows, historic match days and foul play. It’s a celebration of a beloved player, a history maker, and his tragic ending at the final whistle. It’s a story about science and discovery, about the people on the frontline of life changing research.

But above all it’s a story about family, and about consequence.

All of this is wrapped up in three little letters, C.T.E.

A four part investigative documentary from multi-award winning producer Hana Walker-Brown (Audio Production Awards Best Documentary [Winner, 2017, 2016], Prix Europa [Nominee, 2018, 2017, 2015], Åke Blomström Prize [Winner, 2015] Hearsay International Audio Arts Award [Nominee, 2014] and Charles Parker Prize Gold Award [Winner, 2013]) The Beautiful Brain looks at the devastating effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a degenerative brain disease found in people who’ve suffered severe or repeated blows to the head.

Beginning with the story of FA Cup winner Jeff Astle, the podcast expands outwards looking at the widows, daughters and families who are left fighting for answers following the death of their loved ones. As the series progresses Hana’s investigation leads her from Britain’s football pitches to support groups for victims of domestic violence and beyond, sparking a vital discussion about accountability and the urgent need for further scientific studies into CTE.

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What listeners say about The Beautiful Brain

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CTE 101 - Amazing Read

Initially I didn't know what to think going into this book. I was absolutely stunned by the case studies, the first hand accounts of Loraine and Dawn Astle, and the many doctors and scientists interviewed for this audiobook. I didn't know much about CTE going into this book, except for the movie Concussion, but I feel like I ended the book wanting to know more.

Trigger Warning : Domestic Abuse for Chapter/Episode 3.

The narrator spoke very clearly. The timing was well edited, and the flow was very smooth the whole series. They had many scientists and doctors (including Dr. Bennet Omalu who was played by Will Smith in Concussion). I would recommend to anyone who has even the slightest interest in dementia, brain trauma, and CTE. Well done.

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After 30 minutes and too much on melon balls ...

... I give up. I wanted to learn about CTE, the medicine, science etc. That what the title and inage suggest. But in fact, almost everything so far is about the relationships (friends, wife, fans etc) of someone who had CTE. A little bit I could tolerate, but this is too much. It's too female-oriented, too well, BBC 21st century (I liked British TV in the 1970s). And this series is NOT tightly edited. Background music added nothing. Context, the 'personal story', The second interviewee also added nothing substantial.

16 people found this helpful

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Highly informative on CTE

The first episode started off a bit slow, but quickly engaged my attention. CTE (Chronic Trauma Encephalopathy) is not just a sports demise. Battered women can also get CTE and this book shows how the brain concussions heals slower and go unnoticed because of other injuries. Yes, the stories are horrid, but they are told to make you think rather than for shock value. I bought this book because the brain interests me and I wasn't disappointed. I highly recommend this book if you're interested in learning about how our brains are affected by repeated blows... even if the blows seem innocuous at the time. And it makes you think twice when you do play sports. A great question was... would you catch a football with a LCD tv screen? Why not? Our brains are far more delicate and shatter - even if we can't 'see' it. Well done to the author!

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it's just people ranting, I don't even understand

I couldn't listen for more than 20 min, I don't even know what's going on

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Great story!

I really enjoyed this story even though it was very sad. I learned a lot and changed my views on many things. I hope that we as a society come to her senses sooner rather than later.