A delicate game


This is the story of the degenerative brain disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This is a story of power, of science and sport, and of the bodies that society deems worth sacrificing. In 2019, Hana Walker-Brown created The Beautiful Brain, an award-winning podcast about West Bromwich Albion hero Jeff Astle and CTE. This book continues that story, exploring a hidden disease that the powerful don’t want you to know about. It uncovers miscarriages of justice, violence against women, racial discrimination, institutional corruption, privilege, greed, hope and redemption.

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A footballer dies of dementia, younger than he should.
A teenage rugby player plays on through multiple blows – and never wakes up from the last one.
A scientist reveals endemic brain disease in NFL players and is discredited.

From the gladiator arenas of history to the rugby pitches of today, athletes have always forfeited their bodies for sport, with grievous bodily contact consistently celebrated as the ultimate performance of toughness and masculinity. But at what cost? This is the story of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head, and whose impact in the sporting world is only now coming to light.

A Delicate Game is a searing investigation that explores the truth about brain injury in sport and beyond it, from the social dynamics that send young men into violent and dangerous pursuits, to the scientists searching for truth and the families living with the consequences – and it will change the way you think about sport forever.

‘Beautifully written, deeply moving and absolutely mind-blowing’ Julia Ebner

‘A clarion call of great conviction and urgency’ Irish Examiner

Additional information

Weight 240 g
Dimensions 19.6 × 12.8 × 2.8 cm






xii, 340




617.1027 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

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