Chris Kamara admits his one 'big regret' is turning down I'm A Celeb11/15/2023
Chris Kamara admits his one ‘big regret’ is turning down I’m A Celeb before devastating Apraxia diagnosis left him ‘in no shape’ to do it: ‘Neither my body nor my mind could cope’
- For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details
Chris Kamara admits he is given a painful reminder of his biggest TV regret each time ITV announces the line-up for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
The long-running show will return with a 23rd series on November 19, but Kamara, 65, will be forced to watch from home as he continues his battle with Apraxia, a motor disorder caused by damage to the brain that significantly affects speech.
Discussing his close friendship with hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly in new memoir Kammy: My Unbelievable Life, the former footballer, pundit and TV presenter revealed he had been approached to appear on the show numerous times before he was diagnosed with the condition.
He wrote: ‘I struggle to watch myself in my pre-apraxia days – not that I was ever a big fan of watching myself on TV in the first place – so I haven’t had a trawl through YouTube, but I have many happy memories to carry me through, such as the six years I appeared on Saturday Night Takeaway with the brilliant Ant and Dec.
‘I’d have seen even more of them had I said yes to the regular requests to go on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, but I always turned the jungle down because of my commitment to Soccer Saturday and Goals on Sunday.’
Opening up: Chris Kamara admits he is given a painful reminder of his biggest TV regret each time ITV announces the line-up for I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
Here they come: The long-running show will return with a 23rd series on November 19, but Kamara will be forced to watch from home as he continues his battle with Apraxia
WHAT IS APRAXIA OF SPEECH?
Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
This disorder can make saying the right sounds and words very difficult and can be observed as slurring.
It is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control how muscles move, leading to apraxia of speech.
He added: ‘My intention was to do it one day, once my Sky contract came to an end, but I’m in no shape to do so now, sadly. Neither my body nor mind could cope.
‘I couldn’t face hearing the words, “Chris Kamara is exempt from this task due to health issues.” No chance. It’s a big regret.’
The beloved presenter was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in 2021 and then apraxia of speech, which led to him stepping away from the majority of his broadcasting roles.
Apraxia is a little-understood neurological condition that affects the body’s ability to perform natural motor functions, and apraxia of speech is a specific motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
The former Sky Sports presenter previously broke down in tears after admitting he felt ‘ashamed’ of his speech problems during an appearance on breakfast show Good Morning Britain.
‘I thought that defined me, I get upset talking about it because I was in denial, I was ashamed that I couldn’t speak,’ he admitted as host Susanna Reid reached out to comfort him.
‘I didn’t want to a burden, I’ve spent my life looking after my family, and I don’t want to be in a position where they have to look after me, but they would love to… I realised how wrong I was.’
Kamara also thanked Ben Shepherd – his co-host on Saturday night show Ninja Warrior UK – after he revealed how the presenter persuaded him to share his speech disorder publicly when viewers thought he was slurring.
Health: The presenter was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in 2021 and then apraxia of speech , which led to him stepping away from the majority of his broadcasting roles
‘Can I say a big thank you to Ben because none of this would have happened without your help,’ he said.
‘I’m so glad Ben talked to me about doing GMB because in many ways, I’d say I’m 70% better since that day. Acceptance was the hardest thing but now I’ve got this clear determination to help other people with speech conditions.’
Kamara has established himself as one of football’s best loved and most celebrated sports broadcasters during his career on Sky Sports, but left the broadcaster last year after 24 years due to his speech problems.
He recently revealed that he once considered ending his own life as he struggled to come to terms with being diagnosed with apraxia.
In an extract from his new book, serialised by the Daily Mirror, he admitted in his darkest moments he contemplated suicide as he did not want to become a burden to his wife Anne.
‘I’m going to admit something now, something I’ve never mentioned before,’ Kamara wrote. ‘It’s hard for me to talk about, so bear with me.
Upset: Kamara broke down in tears on breakfast show Good Morning Britain and was comforted by Susanna Reid as he admitted he felt ‘ashamed’ of his speech problem
‘I worried about where I was going to end up. Would my physical and neurological deterioration just keep going and going? And I worried more about the effect it would have on those around me.
‘I’m a man who has always wanted to help, to provide, to love and nurture those around me. And now I could only see myself as a burden. A shell of the man I used to be that they would be left to look after.’
‘Seeing myself like that was like staring into an abyss. I could never reconcile that image in my head. It was unthinkable.’
‘And it’s at that point I’d think, “They’d be better off without me”.’
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.
Kammy by Chris Kamara (Pan Macmillan, £22). To order a copy for £18.70 go to www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £25. Promotional price valid until 31/12/23.
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