Former Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara opens up about speech apraxia problems

Chris Kamara quit Sky Sports earlier this year. Credit: PA

Football pundit Chris Kamara has opened up about the speech condition that forced him to quit live television, admitting that he now feels like a "fraud" when on air.

Kamara left his role with Sky Sports earlier this year after viewers noticed him slurring his words

He later revealed that he had been diagnosed with apraxia of speecha neurological disorder that affects the brain pathways involved in planning the movements needed to speak.

The 64-year-old former Leeds United, Sheffield United and Bradford City player, from Middlesbrough, has continued to work in broadcasting, including co-presenting ITV's Ninja Warrior as well as a BBC podcast.

But speaking to Dragons Den entrepreneur Stephen Bartlett on his Diary of a CEO podcast, Kamara – affectionately known as "Kammy" – admitted he feels "strange" having stepped back from live broadcasting.

He said his life away from broadcasting was "perfect" but added: "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."

Kamara has been receiving oxygen therapy. Credit: Twitter/Chris Kamara

Kamara received a huge outpouring of support after he was noticed slurring his words while commentating on a game between Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town in March. He later shared pictures of him receiving oxygen therapy.

He 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% Kammy is still better than some people."

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."

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