Chris Kamara: former Sheffield United star opens up about illness affecting his speech - what is apraxia?

Kamara stepped down from presenting football at the end of last season.
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Former Sheffield United midfielder, Chris Kamara, has recently opened up about his apraxia diagnosis and his experiences with the condition.

The condition affects his ability to speak - which had an effect on his punditry and presenting career.

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Kamara is perhaps best known for his humourous appearances on Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday - including one infamous occurrence where he mistook a player being sent off for a substitution.

As well as punditry, he has also presented TV game shows, including Total Wipeout.

Due to his condition, Kamara retired from football punditry at the conclusion of the 2021/22 football season to an outpour of tributes - though he did not disclose his reasons at the time.

What is apraxia?

Apraxia is a term that covers a wide range of conditions - the variant that Chris Kamara has been diagnosed with is known as apraxia of speech.

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The condition does not affect your ability to comprehend spoken words - instead, it makes it much more difficult to formulate sentences orally, to the point where you may not be able to speak at all.

It does not cause weakness in the muscles needed to create spoken words, but it does make coordinating them very difficult.

On his experience with the condition, Kamara said: "My boys had been saying to my wife ‘there’s something wrong with dad’ for a while, and she’d broach it with me and I’d be quite snappy, which I’m not anyway, and say I’m fine. It’s harder for people close to you, I think.

"I’d say [to my boys] I’ve just had a bad day, don't worry, I’ll be fine, but they know. You can’t pull the wool over their eyes for too long."

When did Chris Kamara play for Sheffield United?

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Kamara had two spells playing for the Blades - one on loan from Luton Town during the 1992/93 season, with his second stint being a permanent move in 1993/94.

He left Sheffield United at the end of the 1993/94 season after they were relegated, joining fellow Yorkshire club Bradford City.

He also had spells with other clubs in Yorkshire, including Leeds and Middlesbrough (his hometown club).