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 was 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 and subsequent apraxia of speech in 2021, which led to him stepping back from the majority of his broadcast 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, admitting he was ‘ashamed’ of his speech problems.
Struggle: Chris Kamara was overcome with emotion and broke down in tears while discussing his struggles after being diagnosed with apraxia of speech
Angry: The former Sky Sports presenter broke down in tears on GMB and was comforted by Susanna Reid as he admitted he was ‘ashamed’ of his speech problem
“I thought that defined me, I get angry when I talk about it because I was in denial, I felt ashamed that I couldn’t talk,” he admitted as host Susanna reached out to comfort him.
‘I didn’t want to be a burden, I’ve taken care of my family all my life, and I don’t want to be in a position where they have to take care of me, but they would like to… I realized how wrong I was. ‘
Susanne comforted him and said sweetly: ‘To be honest, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Let me take your hand. You have done so much to inspire other people.”
Speaking to presenters Susanna and Ben Shephard, he also told how fellow guest Kate Garraway had recommended an experimental treatment in Mexico, which he said helped.
Kate explained that her Covid-stricken husband Derek Draper has also undergone treatment for apraxia of speech as she discussed Chris’s treatment.
She said, “I was nervous talking to you about it. It’s something that Derek has undergone treatment for. I couldn’t guarantee anything because they couldn’t. It’s very new, but it helped you, didn’t it?’
Chris also thanked host Ben for his help, after telling how the presenter persuaded him to publicly share his speech impediment 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 said through tears.
Tears: ‘I thought that defined me, I get angry when I talk about it because I was in denial, I was ashamed that I couldn’t talk,’ he said
Kind: Susanne comforted him and said sweetly: ‘Honestly, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Let me take your hand. You have done so much to inspire other people.”
Support: Chris also thanked presenter Ben for his help, after telling how the presenter persuaded him to publicly share his speech impediment when viewers thought he was slurring
Ben then went over and hugged Chris as he was overwhelmed with emotion in a sweet moment.
As they hugged, Ben joked, “Laura, can we please have the weather now?” This is really embarrassing.’
Chris, affectionately known as Kammy, previously told how his good friend Ben convinced him to reveal his diagnosis on GMB in March 2022.
He said: ‘I’m so glad Ben spoke to me about doing GMB because in many ways I would say I’m 70% better since that day. Acceptance was the hardest part, but now I have a clear determination to help other people with speech problems.’
WHAT IS APRAXIA OF SPEECH?
Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
This disorder can make pronouncing the correct sounds and words very difficult and can be experienced as unclear.
It is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control how muscles move, leading to apraxia of speech.
Chris established himself as one of football’s most loved and celebrated sports broadcasters during his career at Sky Sports, but left the broadcaster last year after 24 years due to his speech problems.
He recently revealed this that he once considered taking his own life as he struggled with a diagnosis of apraxia.
In an extract from his new book, published by the Daily mirrorhe admitted that in his darkest moments he contemplated suicide because he did not want to burden his wife Anne.
“I’m going to confess something now, something I’ve never mentioned before,” Kamara wrote. “It’s hard for me to talk about it, so please be patient.
‘I was worried about where I would end up. Would my physical and neurological decline continue? And I was more concerned about the effect it would have on the people around me.
‘I am a man who has always wanted to help, provide, love and cherish the people around me. And now I could only see myself as a burden. A shell of the man I was, that they had to take care of.’
‘Seeing myself like this was like staring into an abyss. I could never reconcile that image in my head. It was unthinkable.’
“And at that moment I thought, ‘They would be better off without me.'”
Chris wrote that sharing his problems allowed him to realize that his future might not be ‘bleak’, despite still suffering from the condition.
The star has battled to overcome his speech problems and recently returned to screens as co-host of The Games and Ninja Warrior UK.
The former midfielder, who played for nine English professional clubs over a 20-year career, was forced to withdraw from various presenting roles due to his apraxia.
Heartbreaking: Chris recently revealed he once considered taking his own life as he struggled to come to terms with his apraxia diagnosis
Health: The 65-year-old broadcaster was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and subsequent apraxia of speech in 2021, which led to him relinquishing the majority of his broadcasting roles
In December, a documentary called Lost For Words aired about Kamara coming to terms with the condition.
Kamara was awarded an MBE earlier this year in recognition of his services to football, charity and anti-racism.
During his 24-year stint on Football Saturdays, Kamara became known for his catchphrase ‘Unbelievable Jeff’ when describing a big moment in a match hosted by Jeff Stelling.
He also 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 Samaritan chapter. See www.samaritans.org for details.