Chris Kamara has apologised to “everybody out there” suffering from apraxia during an emotional interview in which the popular football pundit admitted he was ashamed after being diagnosed with the rare speech condition.
Kamara, 65, teared up during an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Thursday (9 November) as the Soccer Saturday star reflected on his journey to overcoming the shame and denial he felt in the aftermath of his diagnosis in 2021.
The neurological disorder affects the body’s ability to perform natural motor functions, with many sufferers developing problems talking.
“My apologies to everybody out there who has got a speech condition, because it doesn’t define who you are,” the former footballer said. “I get upset talking about it, because I was in denial, I was ashamed that I couldn’t speak.”
Kamara then became visibly emotional, before presenter Susaanna Reid reached out to comfort him.
“You have got nothing to be ashamed of. Just let me take your hand,” she said. “You have done so much to inspire other people.”
When the clip of his interview was shared on X/Twitter, fans praised Kamara – affectionately nicknamed “Kammy” – for his “total honesty, humility and eloquence”, while also commending GMB presenters Reid and Ben Shepherd for their “compassionate” handling of a deeply sensitive subject.
“Oh my goodness what a moving section that was Chris Kammy. You’re a legend for speaking out about this,” one comment read. “And Susanna Reid and Ben Shepherd, what a remarkable job you did this morning. Perfect tone and compassion.”
Reacting to the incredibly “moving” section, another person wrote: “Well that set the tears off! Kammy what an absolute diamond….”
“Such a lovely man...had me in tears. Well done Kammy on all that you are doing,” a third comment read.
After announcing that he had been diagnosed with apraxia of speech, the broadcaster confessed the neurological condition had left him feeling “like a fraud, when Kamara was asked how he was doing during an appearance on Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO podcast.
He replied: “Strange in terms of I feel a fraud now in terms of broadcasting – I don’t bring to the table what I used to. So that’s hard. I feel I’m doing these programmes and they’re not getting the best of me, but they’re tolerating me. That’s how it feels. My life away from the screen couldn’t be any better – grandkids, family, it’s perfect.”
Kamara has also opened up about contemplating suicide and feeling like “a burden” in his new memoir Kammy: My Unbelievable Life.
“I worried about where I was going to end up,” he writes, in an excerpt obtained by The Mirror.“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,” Kamara continues. “Seeing myself like that was like staring into an abyss. I could never reconcile that image in my head. It was unthinkable.”
Kammy: My Unbelievable Life is out now.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies