Former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis is in critical condition in a hospital in Pensacola, Florida after saving his own children from drowning in the Gulf of Mexico. His children are reportedly safe and healthy.
According to Hillis’ uncle, Hillis remains in the ICU unit for treatment of his lungs and kidneys, but the doctors are saying his health is improving.
The accident happened in the Gulf where rip currents are prevalent at certain times of the year. His children began flailing in a rip current when Hillis went into the strong currents to save them. Hillis was airlifted to an area hospital via Life Flight and at the time was unconscious.
Adding to this information, I have confirmed Hillis was in a swimming accident in Pensacola, FL and helicoptered to the hospital. He remains unconscious in the ICU.— Alyssa Orange (@AlyssaOrange) January 6, 2023
Family asks to please pray for him and a speedy recovery. https://t.co/bHWdZpJeXq
Reporter Alyssa Orange of station KNWA FOX 24 in Rogers, Arkansas broke the story. Hillis was a graduate of the University of Arkansas.
Reports state that the NFL veteran is doing better and trending in a positive direction. but still has a battle to endure. Apparently his breathing is improving.
Rip currents along the Gulf Coast are tricky. They are narrow channels of water flowing out past the surf zone that can pull swimmers out into the Gulf without knowing they are slowly being pulled out to sea.
The escape is to swim at an angle toward the shoreline. Signs with info about rip currents are a mainstay at these beaches, and when the currents are most prevalent there are electronic signs posting warnings. Locals understand the waters, but the issue is when uninformed visitors are not aware of the conditions.
Hillis was a highly recruited player coming out of high school in which he had numerous offers from major programs such as LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Florida. While at Arkansas he was mainly the blocking back for Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, each subsequently drafted in the first round.
In March of 2010, he was traded to Cleveland along with a sixth-round pick for QB Brady Quinn. He came into a crowded backfield along with James Davis, Montario Hardesty, Chris Jennings, and Jerome Harrison. Hillis was listed at the bottom of the depth chart at both fullback, running back as well as tight end. In Week 3 injuries to both Harrison and Davis thrust Hillis into the starting RB slot against a stingy Baltimore defense to which he gained 144 yards and then 100 yards the following week.
For the 2010 season, Hillis busted out for 1,177 yards with 11 touchdowns plus added 61 receptions for 477 yards with an additional two scores despite barely playing in the first two games.
During the off-season, Hillis was on the list for the cover of EA Sports Madden 12 video game. The finalist list was narrowed down to Ray Rice, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Matt Ryan, and Hillis. He then beat out Vick with 66 percent of the vote being voted in by the fans.