James Holzhauer's Record-Breaking 'Jeopardy!' Streak Helps His Friend Recover from Stroke

Kareena Koirala
May 07, 2019
12:04 P.M.
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Record-setting “Jeopardy!” star James Holzhauer might be playing for the big bucks but his winning streak is proving to be a lifesaver for an old friend of his.


Tom Lelle, a Titusville resident, is an old friend of Holzhauer who has found solace in watching his friend perform on the popular game show.

By witnessing Holzhauer’s fantastic performance on TV, Lelle is seeing light at the end of the tunnel as his information recall continues to improve.

Lelle recently suffered a stroke that left him at risk of losing function in his leg and arm along with some parts of his brain. Six months later, he is still finding it difficult to recall things.


According to Lelle, his right side was completely impaired when he woke up one day and attempted to get out of his bed. Furthermore, he had difficulty recalling information since his mind was not in its normal state.


By watching “Jeopardy!”, Lelle tries to come up with answers to the questions asked in the show. That is how the game show has become therapy to him.

His wife, Erin, shared how they pause the game show to let Lelle come up with answers on his own.


“Sometimes he'll be so proud of himself because he'll get there and then we got it wrong," she said.


When Holzhauer appeared on their TV screen during the show, Lelle’s excitement knew no bounds. As Holzhauer continues to win the game, Lelle’s information recall gets better and better.

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

Holzhauer recently broke his own record on the game show by bagging  $131,127 during an episode, which is $20,000 more than his previous record of $110,914 he set on April 9, 2019.

He was crowned the champion of “Jeopardy!” after beating the previous record of Roger Craig who won $77,000 during a single break game in 2010.