Chris Kamara has opened up about how he was filled with anxiety when appearing on Sky Sports as he privately battled apraxia.
Kamara was a mainstay of Soccer Saturday for many, many years, forming an iconic double act with Stelling and providing laughter and entertainment to the show that was much loved by fans. However, during his later years on Soccer Saturday, Kamara battled a speech condition known as apraxia, unbeknownst to fans and even himself until a diagnosis in 2021.
Kamara revealed he had been battling with apraxia in 2022, and he stepped down from Soccer Saturday after 24 years at the end of the season. In an extract from his book in The Mirror, Kamara has revealed just how much he suffered in silence.
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The ex-Bradford City footballer revealed how, as he battled with his speech, he would be filled with fear before Jeff Stelling would cut to him on TV. He was terrified that he wouldn't sound like his "normal" self. He explained: "The famous Kammy smile had disappeared…
"All I could think about was getting through what had become an awful and terrifying ordeal. I’d noticed a change in myself, as if someone had taken over my voice box."
He added: "When I’d hear that Jeff was coming over to me for the first time, I’d feel properly scared, like something really awful was about to happen – a creeping presence, slowly grabbing hold of my mind until I was barely able to function."
Kamara said he would check social media and felt helpless when people would speculate if he was drunk. Upon being diagnosed, Kamara admitted he had suffered in silence for too long.
He told the public via Twitter: "Just wanted to let a few of you know who tweeted me today that I am ok-ish. I have developed Apraxia of Speech & have been working to get my speech back to normal.
"Some days it can be a little slow and some days it’s normal. Hopefully I can beat this!"
Kamara has admitted he has his ups and downs, and he has opened up about his ordeal in his new book.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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