Junior Agogo– 38, ex Ghanaian international and Chester City striker was one of the two features of BBC 4 documentary ‘Speechless’ to mark National Stroke Day, on 30th October, 2017 .
The forward retired in 2012 having played professional football for 17 years but in 2015, his world came crushing down with a stroke. He played with Nottingham Forest, Barnet, Bristol, Chester City FC, Queens Park Rangers and the Ghana national team.
He sat with his mum and his dog, blanket as he narrated how the unfortunate incident happened to BBC. “ I was running with my dog, I was coming back home and I was near the Marriot Hotel and the stroke happened. When I got up, I was in the hospital with my mum siting there and I couldn’t speak. I was in a bad way” he narrated.
He shared his thoughts and reactions when the incident occurred and had dawned on him that he had lost his speech ” I had to force [to try to speak] but I was saying that where is my voice. I was baffled… I cannot speak. It was mad because I could think it [the words] but I couldn’t say it” he shared.
The stroke happened without a warning but said he remembered feeling but he brushed it off thinking it was because he had not eaten before taking the morning run. He assured that he’s now okay- obviously better than when he could barely say a word- but it’s evident in his speech that he still finds it difficult to mention words correctly the way that he intends to.
“I’m anxious about language. I can find the words, but I am anxious if I can say the words well..I want to speak like you, that’s all. I haven’t got any confidence, but it’s okay, that’s life” he sadly said. From his gestures one can notice a little stiffness in his right hand which is as a result of the stroke.
The neurologist had said he could say nothing when she first met him but now he’s making progress. Her only concern was that over a year, the progress has been slow. This could be because he has limited his speech and has resorted to staying indoors to prevent saying anything wrongly as his mother had disclosed.
He had a collection of framed jerseys of his previous clubs on the wall including African players he had played against with some becoming his friend. Also on the wall were framed jerseys of Michael Essien‘s Chelsea jersey, Samuel Etoo and Didier Drogba‘s national jerseys.
He revealed that after he had the stroke, he has been on his own with no friends and had to face the challenge alone. “Nobody gets in touch with me. I used to talk with a couple of the boys that are in the national team but when the stroke happened they all said no… because I couldn’t speak“. Junior Agogo has 27 caps with the Ghana Senior national team before he moved to play in the MLS.
The news of Agogo’s sad situation was well received by his former team mate, Richard Kingston, Black Stars goalkeeper and he was remorseful of his situation and also the neglect he faced in such a trying time.
WATCH: Former Ghana Goalkeeper Apologies To Agogo Over Neglect