Chris Kamara: 'My voice was my life' - Ex-Sheffield United favourite opens up on apraxia battle in documentary

Chris Kamara, the former Sheffield United man turned popular pundit, has described the “difficulty” of accepting his apraxia of speech diagnosis, ahead of a TV documentary charting his quest for treatment.
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Kamara left his job at Sky at the end of last season after 24 years of service, after revealing he had developed apraxia alongside an existing thyroid issue - which he said left him feeling like "someone else has taken over his voicebox".

Kamara played for United at the back end of a career that also included spells at Portsmouth, Leeds and Bradford City, before becoming a popular pundit after making the transition to in front of the cameras. Still presenting TV shows, the 64-year-old told This Morning that he knew "something wasn't right" in 2019 but told "no-one" and decided to speak in "sound bites" to mask his condition.

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He said: "I thought: 'I'm going to wake up one day and it's all gone’. We take for granted when we speak, it's natural, but the message from my brain somehow gets confused and the words come out wrong, or they come out slow, or they don't come out at all.

"My voice was my life so that was hard … to accept. That's why I kept it quiet, I thought there's no way I can tell anybody."

Kamara initially sparked concern in March after appearing to slur his words during an appearance on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday.

Chris Kamara in his Sheffield United days.Chris Kamara in his Sheffield United days.
Chris Kamara in his Sheffield United days.

He said: "I continued doing programmes and, all of a sudden, people are tweeting me or asking my friends: 'Is he OK? Is something wrong with him? Is he drunk? He's slurring his words, he sounds slow'. That's eventually where my good mate Ben Shephard got me to spill the beans on Good Morning Britain."

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Kamara, with the help of friend Shephard, explores his diagnosis in the documentary Chris Kamara: Lost For Words, which will follow the Ninja Warrior host as he seeks advice from experts and meets others suffering from apraxia of speech. "There's some fun in it as well,” Kamara said, “so you will hopefully enjoy it."

- Chris Kamara: Lost For Words airs on ITV1 and ITVX on Wednesday at 9pm.