Chris Kamara says the impact of apraxia on his speech left people calling him a drunk
Watch: Chris Kamara reveals why it took him so long to share his apraxia diagnosis
Chris Kamara has given fans an update on his apraxia diagnosis explaining how the condition has affected his speech.
Earlier this year the sports presenter revealed he was living with the neurological condition, which affects the body's motor function and often creates issues with speech.
His diagnosis forced Kamara to step away from the majority of his broadcasting roles, most notably on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday.
In a new interview on ITV's This Morning the popular broadcaster discussed his condition and revealed his apraxia difficulties after doctors discovered his thyroid was underperforming.
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"People were Tweeting me or asking my friends, 'Is he OK? Is something wrong with him? Is he a drunk? He's slurring his words. He sounds slow," he told hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary.
Appearing alongside his friend Ben Shepard to promote their upcoming documentary Lost For Words the duo said they hoped the documentary would help others affected by similar issues.
"My voice was my life so it was hard to accept, that’s why I kept it quiet," Kamara revealed. "I thought there’s no way you can tell anyone."
He went to add how "personal" the making of the documentary was for him. “I am really keen to raise awareness about apraxia of speech/dyspraxia," he said. "Little is known about it which makes the diagnosis so much harder to navigate."
The former footballer previously discussed the impact the condition has had on his voice: "It feels like someone has taken over my voice box," he told Steven Bartlettt during an episode of Diary of a CEO podcast.
"The voice that used to come out would come out at 300 miles an hour, you’ve seen me on the results and Soccer Saturday, motormouth, talking and not even waiting for a breath, just keep going and going.
"Now when I hear myself or see myself on TV it’s someone else. It’s really strange."
It follows news that, Bruce Willis, 67, has stepped away from acting after his family revealed he had been diagnosed with a health condition called aphasia, a similar condition to apraxia in which a person has trouble speaking and understanding.
In March 2022 the star's family announced news of the star's diagnosis via Instagram with daughter Rumer Willis, ex-wife, Demi Moore, and current wife Emma Heming Willis posting the same picture of the Die Hard actor wearing a dressing gown and sunglasses with a towel on his head.
"To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities," the accompanying caption read. "As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."
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The post went on to thank fans for their "love, compassion and support" during this "really challenging time".
Willis isn't the only celebrity to make his health condition public: Emilia Clarke, Sharon Stone, Terry Jones, Gabby Giffords, and the late Patricia Neal have also opened up about their experiences with aphasia. But what exactly is it, how do symptoms present and how does it differ to apraxia?
What is aphasia?
Aphasia is a condition that impacts a person’s language or speech skills.
According to the NHS, it usually starts due to damage to the left side of the brain after something like a serious head injury or a stroke.
The charity Say Aphasia says the condition affects around 350,000 people in the UK, yet not many people have heard of it.
The fact that the condition isn't widely known can contribute to the loneliness that aphasia sufferers experience.
How does apraxia related to aphasia?
According to National Aphasia Association both aphasia and apraxia are speech disorders, and both can result from brain injury most often to areas in the left side of the brain.
"However apraxia is different from aphasia in that it is not an impairment of linguistic capabilities but rather of the more motor aspects of speech production," the site reveals. "People with aphasia who also have apraxia may be further limited in their ability to compensate for the speech impairment by using informative gestures."
People with aphasia often have trouble with the four main ways people understand and use language.
typing or writing
Most noticeably, those with the condition may have problems with speech, such as making mistakes with the words they use, either using the wrong sounds in a word, choosing the wrong word or getting them muddled up.
Symptoms can range from mixing up a few words to having trouble with all forms of communication.
But this can sometimes lead to frustration as some people living with the condition are unaware that their speech doesn't make sense, so feel frustrated when others don't understand them.
Those living with aphasia often find the condition can impact their relationships, employment, education, social lives and confidence. However, although aphasia impacts a person's ability to communicate, it doesn't affect their intelligence.
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Aphasia is caused by damage to parts of the brain responsible for understanding and producing language.
The most common cause of aphasia is a stroke, but other causes include severe head injury, a brain injury or progressive neurological conditions, like dementia.
Aphasia can occur by itself or alongside other disorders, such as visual difficulties, mobility problems, limb weakness, and problems with memory or thinking skills, according to the NHS.
There are also different types of aphasia, classed as 'receptive' or 'expressive', relating to whether your issues are with understanding or expressing language – people with the condition can also have problems with both.
Who is most at risk of aphasia?
While aphasia can affect people of all ages, it is most common in people over the age of 65. This is because strokes and progressive neurological conditions tend to affect older adults.
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Treatment for aphasia
The NHS says speech and language therapy is the main type of treatment for people with aphasia.
This aims to help restore some of their ability to communicate, and help those with the condition develop alternative ways of communicating, if necessary.
How successful treatment is differs from person to person with most people with aphasia making some degree of recovery, and some recovering fully.
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How to talk to someone with aphasia
The charity, Say Aphasia, has some advice for communicating with someone with the condition including slowing your sentences down, being patient, being concise and using short sentences.
For information on how to help people with aphasia, visit the website, or call 44 (0)7796 143118 or email email@example.com
For further tips visit The National Aphasia Association here.
If you're concerned about someone with aphasia, the NHS recommends encouraging them to discuss any problems with their GP or a member of their care team to access the relevant support.