Kammy opens up on recent dementia check-up after suffering from “brain fog”
He recently got the all-clear after having a brain scan to check for signs of dementia.
And while TV football pundit Chris Kamara admits it’s a “massive relief”, it got him thinking about life.
“It was a worry,” he says. “In the back of your mind, you think, ‘What’s wrong with me?’
“Is it something to do with heading the ball? So I went and got the scan and it was a massive relief.
“But I always ask myself the same thing. Would I change anything? If that brain scan had showed that I had dementia would I have changed anything in my life? And the answer is no.
“I’ve had a great life so I don’t want it to end tomorrow but if it did, it has just been incredible.”
Recently, legends Denis Law and Terry McDermott have both revealed they are suffering from dementia.
Kammy adds: “If you ask Denis Law, would he change anything, the answer would be no.
“I’m sure if I said to any of those players who are playing today, knowing the consequences down the line, would you stop your career now? I bet 99.9% would say no.”
Kammy has been approached by a production company to make a documentary about dementia within sport and he is also part of a group led by Gary Lineker, pushing for more support for former players battling neurodegenerative disease.
He believes the Professional Footballers’ Association should have got to grips with the issue earlier.
“The biggest annoyance is the PFA should have been on top of this for a long time,” says Kammy. “They protect the interests of the players so if I retired tomorrow and I’m a player and I need a hip operation or whatever, the PFA will pay for it. But because it’s something you can’t see, then it’s neglected.
“What we’re campaigning for is not just the PFA to help but for the Government to help. We know there will be people saying footballers don’t need help.
“But what they have to remember is the people who sit at the top of the tree in the Premier League are only a small percentage of footballers who work week in, week out, whose careers finish in their early 30s. Then they’re trying to find jobs. And if they haven’t educated themselves properly then they struggle to make ends meet. Those are the people we want to help.”
The PFA was contacted for comment.
Kammy went for the scan after suffering from “brain fog”.
While he shows no sign of developing dementia, he was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, which can cause tiredness and depression.
He is on tablets for it now but admits he can struggle with his health. “You have to find your level,” he says.
“So some weeks you can get back to normal, you just feel great and wonder what all the fuss is about.
“Then the next day I’m tired and listless. Just when you think you’ve cracked it, and you write down what you’ve eaten or drank, how many hours sleep you’ve had… it just doesn’t make sense.
“But I’m in the early stages, there are people who’ve been going through it for years and years. I’ve probably had it now for a couple of years because I ignored it for a year and a half so I’m in the early stages of treatment. Hopefully if you speak to me in a year’s time I’ll be back to normal.”
The former Leeds, Stoke City and Portsmouth star – whose catchphrase is “unbelievable Jeff!” – has been a regular on Sky Sports for 23 years.
An overhaul last year saw Matt Le Tissier, 52, dumped from Soccer Saturday along with Phil Thompson, 67, and Charlie Nicholas, 59, while it emerged earlier this month Tony Cottee, 56, has also been axed.
And Kammy, 63, is under no illusions that he couldn’t be next. “You just think, it feels like you’re on borrowed time,” he says. “All good things have to come to an end.
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“I’ve had a great time. Call me tomorrow and say, ‘You’re done, we’ve had enough of you,’ I can honestly say it’s been a blast.
“If you’d ever told me I’d have 22 years as a football player, coach and manager and then into my 23rd year in TV – not just punditry but Ninja Warrior and all the shows I’ve done – it’s been amazing.”
Animal lover Chris gave up meat six years ago after bringing sheep to live at his smallholding in Wakefield, West Yorks. He also has horses, chickens, ducks and cats, and says hanging out with them is “just like heaven”.
He says: “I love animals. You give them a lot but they give you so much.
“You don’t realise how much character sheep have got. We’ve got three now who believe they are dogs. You can walk them on a lead, they answer to their names and they love being with you. Once I knew sheep had character – I always knew pigs had character and I’m sure cows are the same – I decided anything with character, I couldn’t eat. Anything that will give you love, you cannot eat. I won’t touch meat again.”
Middlesbrough-born Kammy has teamed up with Plusnet for a podcast celebrating all things Yorkshire and Yorkshire folk’s love for getting value for their money.
He adds: “Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. Life was very difficult. Dad was in and out of work so you had to be thrifty and that has stuck with me all my life.
“For someone who was born on a council estate and didn’t have two bob to rub together, to do all the things I’ve done is just… unbelievable.”
● The Chris KaMOREa podcast with Plusnet, launched to mark Yorkshire Day, celebrates Yorkshire’s love for great value and urges Brits to get more out of everyday situations. Subscribe on Spotify and iTunes.
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