Former NFL Star Released From Hospital After Saving Children in Swimming Accident

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
January 24, 2023US News
Former NFL Star Released From Hospital After Saving Children in Swimming Accident
Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines during the closing moments of the Browns 20-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, on Dec. 24, 2011. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Peyton Hillis, a former Cleveland Browns running back, has been released from the hospital after spending weeks at a medical facility in Florida, a relative of the former NFL star confirmed on social media.

Hillis, 36, was airlifted by helicopter on Jan. 4 after rescuing his two children from drowning in the ocean in Pensacola Beach, a resort community on the Gulf Coast barrier island of Santa Rosa.

“God is so good!” Hillis’ partner, Angela Cole, said on Instagram over the weekend, announcing the former NFL veteran’s discharge from a Pensacola hospital.

“The amount of love and gratitude I have for the incredible team that took care of Peyton is indescribable,” Cole wrote in the caption of a picture that shows several hospital team members who took care of him.

“To Baptist Hospital in Pensacola: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. … You not only saved Peyton’s life, [but] you made it a priority to make sure that his family and I were okay amidst your busy schedules,” she said.

Both of Hillis’s children were reported to be safe and healthy.

Greg Hillis, the former football player’s uncle, said in a statement on Jan. 6 that his nephew was in intensive care due to “some problems with his kidneys and his lungs.”

In a separate update on Jan. 12, Hillis’s sister, Hayley Davis, said her brother was taken off the ventilator and is doing great, but still has “a long road of recovery ahead.”

Davis also jumped into the ocean on Jan. 4 to help rescue her brother’s children.

NFL Career Highlights

The 36-year-old attended the University of Arkansas from 2004 to 2007 following an outstanding high school career in Conway, during which he was ranked the 119th-best player nationwide for the 2004 recruiting class.

Hillis started his professional football career as a fullback after being drafted by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played with the team for two seasons before being traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2010.

NTD Photo
Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns participates in a photo shoot for the cover of EA Sports Madden NFL 12 in Time Square, N.Y.C., on April 28, 2011. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images for EA Sports)

After Hillis’s 2010 breakout season, while playing with the Browns, scoring 13 total touchdowns and putting up 1,177 yards to go with 477 receiving yards as a running back, he was awarded the cover of “EA Sports Madden 12” following a vote by fans.

After a difficult season with the Browns in 2012, where Hillis injured his hamstring two times and unsuccessfully extended his contract, the team allowed him to leave as a free agent to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Just a year later, Hillis signed with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers in July 2013 but was released by the team without appearing in a game.

He concluded his professional football career with the New York Giants before officially retiring in 2015.

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