By Tony Lopez

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Don Schwab is right on target.

Watching March Madness has put this 78-year-old Roseville man in the zone and in the mood to kickstart his mind.

With the help of his wife, Karen, Don finishes up his bracket.

You won’t hear his choice for Monday’s NCAA Men’s championship game. That’s because a stroke 13 years ago took away his ability to speak and write.

The retired chemistry professor mixes hand signals and body language to communicate.

Hoops fever has given him the chance to be heard loud and and clear, and he signals UConn as his pick.

And it’s not just Schwab getting involved. A nationwide March Madness challenge where seniors fighting back from a stroke or dementia is winning over patients and caregivers.

“I think it just keeps him engaged watching a sport, getting excited about it,” Karen said.

For her, it’s more than a contest or a game. It’s a way to connect with a man whose voice she hasn’t heard in more than a decade.

“Sometimes I’ll discover that we’re rooting for opposite teams. I’ll be yelling, and he’ll go year, and I’ll be, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not the right team,’” she said.

So as March Madness drifts into April with more big shots still to come, there’s one player in Roseville happy to be back in the game—engaged, pumped and ready to score.

The Senior March Madness Challenge is run by the in-home care agency Visiting Angels, and it’s proving to be a big hit nationwide.


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