Thursday, October 22 marked International Stammer Awareness Day.
Living with a stammer can make everyday life incredibly difficult, this difficulty must only be enhanced for a professional athlete in the public eye on a daily basis.
For Kelly Brown, former Scottish rugby captain and now Glasgow Warriors coach, this was a reality.
Brown has been speaking to RugbyPass in an interview hoping to raise awareness about what it is like to live with a stammer.
Former Scottish international Jim Hamilton conducted the interview, and recalled that when Brown was first being described to him, his stammer was mentioned.
“Ultimately as a young bloke that’s something that defines you, that’s something that you carried around and you carried it around positively.”
Brown mentions the importance of rugby as an inclusive game, and the new patron of the British Stammering Association went on to discuss the misconceptions that often surround people who have a stammer.
“Big thing really is to raise awareness around it, a lot of people don’t understand stammering.
They maybe think it’s a bit of nervousness or it’s because the person is a little bit less intelligent or maybe they just don’t understand what is going on… It’s just how some people talk.
The key point Brown makes is that most people do not really know where a stammer comes from and that more awareness is needed.
“If someone asks you your name and you stammer on your name… and then they just make a joke, ‘oh you forgot your name for a second there’.
“It’s not someone being mean, it’s just because they don’t know or really understand it.”
The seemingly small, yet everyday, examples of the difficulties faced by people who stammer is expressed clearly in Brown’s analogy.
“Imagine if you went into a restaurant, for the first 26 years of my life I would always sit at the seat that I thought the staff would stand beside so then I could point at the menu.
“The number of times I would have to change my order because I couldn’t say what I wanted to say.”
This interview not only tells an inspiring story, but also hopefully makes people more aware of what it is like for people who have a stammer. The most important thing to remember from Brown’s interview is that it is ‘just how some people talk’ and hopefully knowing that will make some people’s everyday lives just a little bit easier.