Chris Kamara breaks down in tears as he admits he felt ‘ashamed’ of his struggles with a speech disorder and is comforted by Susanna Reid
Chris Kamara became overcome with emotion and broke down in tears as he discussed his struggles after being diagnosed with apraxia of speech.
The beloved sports broadcaster, 65, was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in 2021 and then apraxia of speech, which led to him stepping away from the majority of his broadcasting roles.
Apraxia is a little-understood neurological condition that affects the body’s ability to perform natural motor functions, and apraxia of speech is a specific motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
Chris has now released a new memoir, Kammy: My Unbelievable Life, and discussed his apraxia while promoting the book on Good Morning Britain on Thursday.
The former Sky Sports presenter broke down in tears as he became overwhelmed with emotion while admitting he felt ‘ashamed’ of his speech problems.
Struggles: Chris Kamara became overcome with emotion and broke down in tears as he discussed his struggles after being diagnosed with apraxia of speech
Upset: The former Sky Sports presenter broke down in tears on GMB and was comforted by Susanna Reid as he admitted he felt ‘ashamed’ of his speech problem
‘I thought that defined me, I get upset talking about it because I was in denial, I was ashamed that I couldn’t speak,’ he admitted as host Susanna reached out to comfort him.
‘I didn’t want to a burden, I’ve spent my life looking after my family, and I don’t want to be in a position where they have to look after me, but they would love to… I realised how wrong I was.’
Comforting him, Susanne sweetly said: ‘You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, honestly. Let me just take your hand. You’ve done so much to inspire other people.’
Speaking to hosts Susanna and Ben Shephard, he also told how fellow guest Kate Garraway had recommended an experimental treatment in Mexico, which he said has been helping.
Kate explained that her Covid-stricken husband Derek Draper has also had treatment for apraxia of speech as she discussed Chris’ treatment.
She said: ‘I was nervous talking to you about it. It’s something that Derek has had treatment for. I couldn’t guarantee anything because they couldn’t, it’s very new but it’s helped you hasn’t it?’
Chris also thanked host Ben for his help, after he shared how the presenter persuaded him to share his speech disorder publicly when viewers thought he was slurring.
‘Can I say a big thank you to Ben because none of this would have happened without your help,’ Chris tearfully said.
Tears: ‘I thought that defined me, I get upset talking about it because I was in denial, I was ashamed that I couldn’t speak,’ he said
Kind: Comforting him, Susanne sweetly said: ‘You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, honestly. Let me just take your hand. You’ve done so much to inspire other people’
Support: Chris also thanked host Ben for his help, after he shared how the presenter persuaded him to share his speech disorder publicly when viewers thought he was slurring
Ben then went over and hugged Chris as he became overwhelmed with emotion in a sweet moment.
As they embraced, Ben quipped: ‘Laura can we get the weather now please? This is really embarrassing.’
Chris, known affectionately as Kammy, previously told how his close friend Ben persuaded him to reveal his diagnosis in March 2022 on GMB.
He said: ‘I’m so glad Ben talked to me about doing GMB because in many ways, I’d say I’m 70% better since that day. Acceptance was the hardest thing but now I’ve got this clear determination to help other people with speech conditions.’
WHAT IS APRAXIA OF SPEECH?
Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
This disorder can make saying the right sounds and words very difficult and can be observed as slurring.
It is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control how muscles move, leading to apraxia of speech.
Chris has established himself as one of football’s best loved and most celebrated sports broadcasters during his career on Sky Sports, but left the broadcaster last year after 24 years due to his speech problems.
He recently revealed that he once considered ending his own life as he struggled to come to terms with being diagnosed with apraxia.
In an extract from his new book, serialised by the Daily Mirror, he admitted in his darkest moments he contemplated suicide as he did not want to become a burden to his wife Anne.
‘I’m going to admit something now, something I’ve never mentioned before,’ Kamara wrote. ‘It’s hard for me to talk about, so bear with me.
‘I worried about where I was going to end up. Would my physical and neurological deterioration just keep going and going? And I worried more about the effect it would have on those around me.
‘I’m a man who has always wanted to help, to provide, to love and nurture those around me. And now I could only see myself as a burden. A shell of the man I used to be that they would be left to look after.’
‘Seeing myself like that was like staring into an abyss. I could never reconcile that image in my head. It was unthinkable.’
‘And it’s at that point I’d think, ‘They’d be better off without me’.’
Chris wrote that the sharing his problems allowed him to realise his future might not be ‘bleak’ despite continuing to suffer from the condition.
The star has fought to overcome his speech issues and recently returned to screens to co-host The Games and Ninja Warrior UK.
The former midfielder, who played for nine English professional clubs in a career spanning 20 years, had been forced to pull out of several presenting roles due to his apraxia.
Heartbreaking: Chris recently revealed he once considered ending his own life as he struggled to come to terms with being diagnosed with apraxia
Health: The broadcaster, 65, was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in 2021 and then apraxia of speech , which led to him stepping away from the majority of his broadcasting roles
A documentary called for Lost For Words about Kamara coming to terms with the condition was broadcast in December.
Kamara received an MBE earlier this year which recognised his services to football, charity and anti-racism.
In his 24-year stint on Soccer Saturday, Kamara became known for his catchphrase ‘Unbelievable Jeff’ when describing a big moment in a game to then host Jeff Stelling.
He also famously missed a red card when Portsmouth’s Anthony Vanden Borre was sent off against Blackburn in April 2010.
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.
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