A profile image of Dr Amos Ogunkoya.

GP Lives: From sports medicine to TV stardom

Published on 27 April 2023

GP and sports medic Dr Amos Ogunkoya on his star turn on The Traitors

At the age of 31, having just qualified as a GP and spending two years of his training working on the frontline of the Covid pandemic, Dr Amos Ogunkoya was looking to do something a little bit different.

That’s how he found himself one of 20 contestants walking into a castle in Scotland filming the hit BBC TV show, The Traitors.

A promotional photo of Dr. Amos Ogunkoya
Credit: BBC

Now back working as a GP in central London as well as the team doctor for Colchester United, he can reflect on what a unique experience it was. He had a particularly unusual arc on the show being kicked out in first 10 minutes before coming back in episode five as one of the ‘Faithful’ before finally being ‘murdered’ much to the upset of his fellow contestants.

His training as a doctor did help him keep a sense of perspective about the whole thing, he says, as well to be non-judgmental. “I think that definitely shows in the way I behaved in the programme. I do think being a doctor makes you see things more as they are not how you want them to be.”

The series came after an intense two-year period building up to his GP qualification, including losing a colleague to Covid in the first month of the pandemic when everyone else was in lockdown.

“There is an element of fatigue among the young workforce,” he says. “My sister's a doctor as well and she was an F1 when the pandemic started. I think there is a generation of young doctors who are actually exhausted.”

General practice has enabled him to pursue a range of things he is interested in, including sports medicine in which he already has a masters and has recently been accepted to do consultant training.

A photo of Dr Amos Ogunkoya at Colchester United FC football stadium
Credit: Instagram, @dr_amoss

His newfound fame – he regularly gets recognised by patients although they can’t always place him – has also meant new opportunities including some broadcast work with BBC One with their daily magazine programme, Morning Live; and Channel 5 as well as partnerships with the Anthony Nolan Trust, Terrence Higgins Foundation and the Sickle Cell Society.

On Tuesdays you will find him at the football club where as well as looking after the professional team he oversees school boys playing in the academy.

The biggest misconception is that it is all musculoskeletal injuries. In reality, it is very much GP work overseeing the players' overall health – mental and physical. And you’re working with a multi-disciplinary team of physiotherapists, nutritionists and sports scientists, all of whom he’s learnt so much from, he notes.

“I’ve definitely taken that into general practice when I talk with my patients about physical activity. It’s definitely shifted my practice as I’ve understood more about the different pressures in football and what it is like to actually help people do their job.”

Because being fit is part of the job of a footballer it can also come with a lot of health anxiety, he adds. “There are those who have a chronic fear of being sick or fear of getting injured so managing that is part of it.”

In his late 20s, his youngest sister, now a teacher, while studying for a masters in educational psychology spotted several tell-tale signs which led to his diagnosis of “significant dyslexia”.

He had long suspected there was a reason he had struggled so much with reading and writing. “With MCQs I would tell my friends that I read the answers first and then sort of guessed the question and they’d say you know you’re not supposed to do that. I’ve been compensating for most of my life.”

It would have made so much difference, he says, had it been spotted sooner. Born in Nigeria (he moved to North London at the age of six) he spoke two languages at home, which may have distracted teachers from what was actually going on.

“It revolutionised my work and I got extra support. Some medical schools now assess dyslexia as standard because schools are good at picking up kids who are failing but not those who are still getting As.”

Dr. Amos Ogunkoya standing in front of a Terrence Higgins Trusts banner
Credit: Instagram, @dr_amoss

His appearance on The Traitors has enabled him to marry all his interests in sport, public health messaging and general medicine, he says.

“Changing people’s motivation, empowering them and changing their outlook on physical activity, I definitely want to do more of that.”

Amos has since spoken to the RCGP again, discussing his appointment as Club Doctor at Luton Town FC