Former NFL Star Running Back Releases Statement After Nearly Dying While Saving Kids From Drowning

Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis, who was on the cover of the 2012 Madden NFL video game, released a statement this week after being hospitalized last month following a swimming accident, saying that he was thankful for everyone’s love and support as he recovers.

Hillis, 36, was rushed to the hospital in early January in critical condition after he reportedly saved his children from drowning in the ocean. ESPN said that the incident involved two adults and two children.

“I just wanted to come on here and thank everyone for all the prayers and love y’all have given me,” Hillis wrote on social media. “It’s really made all the difference. I also want to thank my brave sister, mother, sister in law, my kids, and my girlfriend who has saved my life in more ways than one. Thank you to the amazing staff at the hospital. Baptist hospital in Pensacola. Y’all were truly amazing and took such great care of me. You made all the difference on my recovery.”

Hillis said that he has not given any media interviews because he wanted to keep his family out of the public since the incident was a “very traumatic” experience for everyone involved.

“But I did want to come on here and show my appreciation for everyone who helped save my life and for all of your prayers and love and support,” he added. “I left the hospital with no worries and concerns and should make a 100% recovery. I’m a very lucky and blessed man. Yahweh has really blessed me and I am very thankful.”

Thank you for all your love and prayers🙏🏻

— Peyton Hillis (@thepeytonhillis) February 21, 2023

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.

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.

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