Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis, who was on the cover of the 2012 Madden NFL video game, has reportedly been taken off a ventilator that he was placed on after being hospitalized following a swimming accident.
Hillis, 36, was rushed to the hospital earlier this month by helicopter in critical condition after he saved his children from drowning in the ocean.
Hillis’ girlfriend, Angela Cole, shared an update on her Instagram account on Thursday, saying that his condition has improved.
“A hero,” she wrote. “So proud of this man and so incredibly grateful for family and this incredible hospital. Peyton is off the ventilator and is on the road to recovery. Please continue to pray for [him] he’s still got a ways ahead of him, but thank you for all of your prayers and love and support thus far. It truly makes all the difference. Today was a good day.”
TMZ Sports obtained photos of the incident that showed a helicopter landing on the road to respond to the medical emergency.
Other photos showed Hillis lying on a backboard on the beach surrounded by lifeguards and paramedics. He was then taken to the hospital, according to the report. Photos appeared to show the first responders taking Hillis near an ambulance, but it’s unclear if he was put in the ambulance.
The photos did not show Hillis being put on the helicopter.
— TMZ (@TMZ) January 6, 2023
Hillis was drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of the University of Arkansas.
The 6’2” 250-pound bruising running back had his breakout season in 2010, amassing more than 1,500 yards of total offense and scoring 13 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns.
He followed up that season by racking up more than 700 yards of offense and three touchdowns in 2011. He played in 81 games over eight seasons with the Browns, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and the New York Giants.
Hillis retired in 2015.