A a former NFL player who nearly died while saving his children from drowning people after a swimming accident in Florida was recently released from the hospital.
Peyton Hillis, a former member, was discharged from Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. Cleveland Browns – late last week, according to social media posts from his girlfriend Angela Cole and sister Hayley Davis.
Cole wrote about Hillis’ release from the hospital Instagramwho also described her immense gratitude for the work the doctors and nurses at the hospital had done for him.
“Not only did you save Peyton’s life, but you made it a priority to make sure his family and I [OK amid] your busy schedule,” Cole wrote. “Thank you for changing our lives.”
The Hillis children were in distress in the waters off Pensacola Portofino island resort while on vacation with his family on Jan. 5 when the former running back and his sister, Davis, jumped in to try to pull the youngsters out.
The children were ultimately unharmed, and Hillis’ actions have drawn praise from parents and the sport, including a former NFL player and media analyst Ryan Clark, who called him a “hero.” But two lifeguards and a firefighter had to wade into the water and pull Hillis out before he was airlifted to Baptist, where he arrived unconscious and in critical condition with kidney and lung damage.
Davis was also taken to the hospital, although she appeared to be in better condition than Hillis when she was taken there. She published a Facebook post on Friday, who described a frantic scene among her family as first responders treated her brother.
“I remember Pate lying on the sand unable to move and my mom having to run back and forth between us as the medics helped each of us,” Davis wrote. “I was just praying that Pate was going to be OK.”
Davis’ message on Friday also said it was clear her prayer had been answered and that her brother’s health was “all improved – truly a miracle!!”
“All I can say is GOD HAS BEEN SO GOOD TO US!!” read the post. “Peyton was released from the hospital today!”
Hillis played college football at the University of Arkansas before joining the NFL as a seventh-round pick in the 2008 draft by the Denver Broncos.
After the Broncos traded Hillis to the Browns in his third year in the league, the bruising running back enjoyed a breakout season, rushing for nearly 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Arkansas native also had 477 receiving yards and two touchdown catches while appearing on the cover of the Madden football video game, which hit store shelves in August 2011.
Hillis spent four more seasons in the NFL with the Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants, but never regained the form of his memorable 2010 campaign. This has led many fans to associate it with the supposed Madden Curse, which involves players featured on the cover of games in the annually renewed series suffering from a drop in on-field performance.
Hillis and his ex-wife Amanda Hillis had two children. He recently dated actor-singer Cole, with whom he co-starred in a 2021 independent film titled The Hunt.