Former NFL running back hospitalized after saving his kids from drowning, reports say

FILE - Kansas City Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis runs during the first half of an NFL...
FILE - Kansas City Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo.(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 4:01 PM EST
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(KY3/Gray News) – Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis was hospitalized after a swimming accident while saving his children from drowning, according to multiple reports.

ESPN said the water rescue happened Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida, and reportedly involved at least one family member. Escambia County emergency services did not identify the people involved but said two adults and two children were rescued by a bystander.

Two adults went to the hospital, including one taken by helicopter, ESPN stated. KNWA reporter Alyssa Orange said Hillis was the adult transferred by helicopter.

The Arkansas Razorbacks football Twitter account posted Friday about Hillis, who went to college and played football there from 2004-2007.

“Thinking about our man @thepeytonhillis. Encouraged to learn he’s doing better after his heroic act saving his family,” the tweet stated.

Greg Hillis, identified as Peyton Hillis’ uncle, said on Facebook that Peyton Hillis is doing better.

“He’s still in intensive care and having some problems with his kidneys and his lungs but the doctors say he is improving,” he wrote. “I just wanted to head off any rumors that may be started. I’m sure he would want everyone to know that he appreciates all of the prayers being thrown up on his behalf!!!”

Peyton Hillis played seven seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants. His best season was in 2010 with the Browns, when he had more than 1,600 total yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns.

He was featured as the cover athlete on the Madden NFL video game the following season.