‘Jeopardy!' superstar James Holzhauer's winning streak helping family friend recover from stroke

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — The latest “Jeopardy!” superstar, James Holzhauer, who seems to know everything, is helping a family friend repair his brain.

Titusville resident Tom Lelle is an old friend of Holzhauer who recently suffered a stroke and was in jeopardy of losing function in his leg, arm and parts of his mind.

WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook found Holzhauer’s winnning streak on the game show is helping Lelle win back his life.


Answers don't fire out of Lelle's brain like they used to, six months after having a stroke.

"I woke up and went to get out of bed, but my right side was completely impaired," 
Lelle said.

He also discovered his mind was not what it once was. He started searching for answers, but sometimes the answer is a question.

During his recovery, Tom's family quickly realized the path to his recovery thrived in a little blue box.

"You want to try and be quick and improve your time," Lelle said.

The best way to heal a brain after it's been deprived of blood, oxygen and nutrients? What is “Jeopardy!”

"We just pause it, we just wait and let him get there,” said Tom’s wife Erin Lelle. “Sometimes he'll be so proud of himself because he'll get there and then we got it wrong."

After a few weeks of game show therapy, Tom's memory got a big surprise.

"It was pretty exciting when I saw him," Tom Lelle said.

James Holzhauer, a family friend, popped up on his TV.

"Even if he would've been on once and lost, that would've been something we talked about," Tom Lelle said.

But Holzhauer continues to win and Tom Lelle's information recall continues to improve.

"We're very grateful for the second chance that I've gotten,” Tom Lelle said. “And the show really gives us something to get excited about every day."

"We talk about James being a motivator, but Tom's been a motivator for our family," said Erin Lelle.

A man breaking records as he’s helping a family friend to beat the odds.

"James is helping me and I'm thankful,” Tom Lelle said. “And I'd like to give him a big hug here pretty soon."

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