GLEN DURRANT admits he doesn’t even want to smile when he wins a major event because of a secret torment.
The three-times BDO World Champion has been one of the biggest success stories of the sport over the past 18 months with a highly-successful switch to the PDC.
But on the eve of big time darts returning for the Summer Series Milton Keynes, Durrant has revealed how contracting Bell’s Palsy 16 years ago changed his life and made him dislike his own images so much.
Middlesbrough-based Durrant, 49, exclusively told Oche! Magazine: “I got it in 2004. Early in my darts career I was like Gerwyn Price, very aggressive on the oche. I’d turn to the crowd and really shout, very sort of animated.
“Bell’s palsy is like a paralysis on the right hand side of my face. It gives me that lazy eye aspect. For the first year or so, one side of my face was drooping as if I’d had a stroke.
“It’s a long time ago since I had it, but I didn’t like what I saw when I was playing darts after having Bell’s palsy. One eye was open, one eye was closed.
“I can be called every name under the sun and I can laugh it off with people. I have this banter with Jim Williams and Matt Edgar, and I don’t mind any of it. But my Achilles Heel is when people focus on the Bell’s palsy. It aged me 10 years overnight.
“I see it now as a positive. I’m not so animated on stage, my blood pressure doesn’t go sky high when I play because I don’t scream and shout.
“Had I not I had Bell’s palsy I could still have been like Gerwyn. People say I’m a good matchplayer now and I believe that’s because I’m calmer, the adrenalin’s not flowing through my body and I don’t show the emotion.
“I don’t like what I see anymore when I’m screaming and shouting. So I don’t do it and I think it helps me”.
“Everytime I’ve won a Lakeside, you’ll see I close my eyes. Because when I close my eyes, my face remains on a parallel. But if I’m screaming and shouting my lazy eye is more prominent.
“A media day for me is worse than anything else. When it’s photo after photo I have to whisper in the photographer’s ear that I’ve got Bell’s palsy.
“I remember being in Sport Relief. What should have been my best day. But it was 90 per cent photography and 10 per cent darts. I played with an actress Kate Humble off Autumn Watch. She just lit up the place.
“So when we were doing him and her it was like Beauty and the Beast.
I was absolutely dreading every camera angle.
“When I see my media after a match, the first thing I see is a photo of me to see how bad it is. I’ve never watched any of my old games.
“But I’ve turned it into a positive. I believe it’s turned me into a better player because subconsciously I don’t let my emotions out now.
“I don’t get so emotional on stage. Purely because of the way I see myself.”
“I’m a mentor for a few people who have Bell’s palsy now. Singer Tulisa had it and that surprised me, it was a shock. It’s good we can raise awareness.”
Full story – buy Oche! magazine. https://www.curtis-sport.com/online-store/OCHE-Issue-3-p209494763
Pictures by Taylor Lanning