I feel a fraud now – Chris Kamara opens up on his battle with apraxia of speech

·3-min read

Chris Kamara has spoken of feeling “a fraud” as a broadcaster as he battles a condition affecting his speech.

The former footballer, 64, revealed in March that he had developed apraxia of speech, alongside an existing thyroid issue.

While he left Sky Sports at the end of last season, Kamara continues to do other television work.

Asked on Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO podcast how life was for him at the moment, Kamara said: “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 said he had initially intended to quit all television work at the end of last season before being urged not to.

“I think it was the right time to leave Sky, I’d had a great innings,” he said.

“But BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 said ‘no – you’re Kammy, it doesn’t matter’. And would you believe it, I’m now doubly busy than what I was before.

“I’d like to thank all the people who have been persistent and said a 25 per cent Kammy is still better than some people.”

Kamara left Sky Sports after 24 years with the company (Zac Goodwin/PA).
Kamara left Sky Sports after 24 years with the company (Zac Goodwin/PA).

Kamara said his experience of apraxia is that “it feels like someone is taking over my voice box”.

He said: “The voice that used to come out would come out at 300 miles per hour – you’ve seen me on the results and Soccer Saturday, motor mouth, not even waiting for a breath, just keep going…Now when I hear myself or see myself on TV, it’s someone else. It’s strange, it’s really strange.

“Some days the message from the brain to the mouth is really slow, which makes it difficult, or some days the words come out different to what you’re trying to say, and that’s even weirder. That’s been hard to accept, and still hard to accept.

“It consumes your mind, or it has done, mine – every day I wake up and the first thing I think is ‘am I going to be able to talk today?'”

Kamara has been undergoing various treatments and “wouldn’t say I’m more than 60 per cent the old me, but I was 20 per cent, so I’ve gone up 40 per cent.”

He added: “I’ve just been introduced to the best neurologist in America, and he said because I have good days, there’s no reason why I can’t be cured.

“So I’ve sent off a load of blood tests and everything to America, and I’m just waiting on the results.”