Chris Kamara discusses his underactive thyroid diagnosis
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Chris Kamara and his Soccer Saturday colleague Jeff Stelling will feature on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip this evening. The football fanatics travel to Leicestershire to tackle the world of competitive antiquing with the help of the experts, Angus Ashworth and Roo Irvine. The episode features an unusual piece of silver, a 1966 World Cup souvenir and a discovery about the most famous British monarchs. Chris and Jeff have worked with each other on Sky Sports for years, producing some brilliant moments along the way.
While they have become well known for their sense of humour, Chris opened up earlier this year on a more serious subject.
The pundit and former professional footballer has been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, also known as Under-active Thyroid Disease, a condition when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough hormones to meet the body’s needs.
However, he said he found it difficult to discuss his condition with his family.
Chris told of how he has suffered from brain fog and slurred speech but kept his health concerns quiet for two years in a video created for Men’s Health Week and shared on YouTube.
In June, the TV personality chatted to his brother Jack about his diagnosis.
Asked why it took so long for him to find out what was wrong, he told Jack: “Embarrassment, stubbornness, head in the sand. Didn’t want to believe what was going on in my body, in my mind.
“So I suffered in silence Jack, probably have to say for 20 months.”
He added: “Even though people were saying along the way ‘he’s not his normal self’ I would just bat it away and say ‘no I’m fine.’
“I’d never heard of an under-active thyroid.
“I didn’t realise that a little hormone in your neck the size of a butterfly controlled your brain, your muscles. All sorts of things. Your emotions.”
Chris also explained how he initially suspected he was suffering from dementia, and even went for a brain scan.
He added: “Brain fog, slurring speech and then other days you’re fine.”
He was then recommended for blood tests and that showed he had an under-active thyroid.
Chris will now remain on a course of tablets for the rest of his life. He added: “It’s my third month on tablets and feel so much better.”
In May this year, Jeff spoke to The Sun about how he had concerns for his colleague.
He said: “I had no idea what was wrong, although I was obviously aware Kammy wasn’t himself.
“You didn’t need to be very observant to notice he just wasn’t the same Kammy we’ve come to know and love over the years ‒ someone extraverted, bubbly, sharp and who would stop you in your tracks.
“I knew there was something wrong and I thought it might be the onset of some early form of dementia caused by heading balls throughout his football career.
“There are so many former players suffering from that now.
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“So I know Kammy was relieved when the problem was diagnosed and we were all relieved too.”
Viewers have a great deal of affection for the Soccer Saturday boys, with the iconic phrase “unbelievable Jeff” becoming synonymous with Saturday afternoons.
Jeff paid tribute to his friend and colleague for his work on Soccer Saturday over the years.
He continued: “The thing with Kammy is he is one of the real good guys. He works his socks off and has brought light and fun to the nation on TV for 20-odd years.
“He has become a national treasure, really against all the odds because he had a good football career, but not a glittering one, which is what you usually expect from someone who becomes a household name through punditry.
“His career on camera, to be honest, is more successful than his career on the football field. And I’m not saying that to belittle it, because he was a blooming good footballer.
“But he has been absolutely sensational on TV. So when we found out it was a thyroid problem which could be treated it was fantastic news.”
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