CLEVELAND — Last week, former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis was hospitalized after a swimming accident in Pensacola Beach, Florida.
On Wednesday, the 36-year-old's girlfriend, Angela Cole, shared an encouraging update, revealing that Hillis has been taken off a ventilator and is now "on the road to recovery."
"So proud of this man and so incredibly grateful for family and this incredible hospital," Cole wrote on Instagram. "Peyton is off the ventilator and is on the road to recovery. Please continue to pray for 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."
According to reports, Hillis was hospitalized after going into the water to rescue his children, a son and a daughter from drowning. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital in Pensacola, Florida, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit while unconscious. His children were not physically harmed as a result of the incident.
Taking to Facebook last week, Hillis' uncle, Greg Hillis, shared that doctors were concerned about damage that had been done to the seven-year pro's kidneys and lungs. Over the course of the past week, the NFL community has shared an outpouring of support for Hillis, with the Browns retweeting a post from his alma mater, Arkansas, adding an orange heart and praying hands emoji.
Originally selected by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Hillis enjoyed the best years of his career in Cleveland, totaling more than 1,500 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010 and 717 yards and three touchdowns in 2011. He also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants and famously appeared on the cover of the Madden '12 video game as a member of the Browns after winning a fan vote.