In their podcast, Mary Brown and Pallavi Podapati discuss their mutual interest in the history of disability and sports, and the birth of the Paralympic Games in 1948 at Dr. Ludwig Guttman’s now legendary Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. This uplifting and essential podcast shines a light of the international importance of the early Paralympic movement, as Mary and Pallavi discuss how the care at Guttman’s unit, and the progress made in rehabilitating the men and women injured in the Second World War, changed the future of both sport, and life with a disability.
Pallavi Podapati is a PhD candidate, History of Science, at Princeton University. Her research is at the intersection of the history of disability, technology, labor, and the body. Her dissertation, “Beyond Boundaries: A History of Paralympic Design and Practice,” examines the development of particular adaptive technologies and sporting practices in the Paralympics, drawing attention to the disabled body as a complex site for the (re)constitution of culture, technology, athletic performance, and of life itself. The project’s central focus is the role of athletes in the design and creation of adaptive sports and sports technologies and how these practices and technologies influenced the development of disability sport through the 20th century into the early 21st century. She is a graduate of Swansea University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Mary Brown is a graduate of the George Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology. She has a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Science degree from the University of Liverpool. She was an Archivist at the Island County Historical Society in Coupeville, Washington, USA. She was also the Project Archivist on the Wellcome Trust funded Spinal 2 Sport project where she catalogued records relating to the development of disability sport and the history of the Paralympic Games.