'I was ashamed' - Chris Kamara emotionally opens up about speech condition on GMB

Virgin Radio

9 Nov 2023, 11:44

Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara in the Good Morning Britain studio

Credit: ITV Good Morning Britain

Footballing legend Chris Kamara got emotional talking about his speech condition on Good Morning Britain this Thursday (9th November).

Speaking with his friend Ben Shephard, Kate Garraway and Susanna Reid in the GMB studio, the former midfielder and Sky Sports presenter opened up about living with apraxia of speech.

“I didn’t know what it was,” the star explained. “I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid… I thought that was it and it was affecting my voice.” However, after being told by an expert that an underactive thyroid doesn't normally affect the voice, Chris - or ‘Kammy’ as he is often called - was told to seek another opinion.

“So I went to see a brain specialist and I was only in there for two minutes speaking to him, and he said you’ve got apraxia of speech, where the connection between the brain and the mouth breaks down and you can’t say the words. Your mouth can’t control itself to say the words properly," he explained.

The 65-year-old revealed to Susanna, Kate and Ben that the condition had once really affected his opinion of himself.

“The [words] come out very slow so I thought that defined me,” he admitted, before he added: “So my apologies to everybody who’s got a speech condition because it doesn’t define who you are.

“I get upset talking about it because I was in denial, I was ashamed that I couldn’t speak,” he finished.

Kammy was supported by both Susanna, Kate and Ben in the studio as he talked about his apraxia of speech, with Susanna saying: “You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of honestly, you’ve done so much to inspire other people.”

Chris recently worked on a documentary about the condition, and has also been to Parliament to lobby the government to provide more support for children living with apraxia of speech, as well as adults too.

“I’m going to campaign as much as I can to help those people,” the footballer told the studio today.

The interview, in which Chris also promoted his new memoir, Kammy: My Unbelievable Life, ended with a sweet moment in which the former sports analyst thanked Ben for all the support he’d shared as a friend.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV1 & ITVX