Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis is off a ventilator and “on the road to recovery” just a week after saving his children from drowning at a Florida beach last week, his girlfriend said Wednesday.
Hillis’ girlfriend, Angela Cole, called him a “hero” on Instagram, adding that she was, “So proud of this man and so incredibly grateful for family and this incredible hospital.”
Cole also thanked Hillis’ family, friends, the medical staff caring for him and fans for their support.
“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,” she said. “Today was a good day.”
The day after the incident, Hillis’ uncle, Greg Hillis, wrote on Facebook that his nephew’s health was already “improving.”
“He’s still in intensive care and having some problems with his kidneys and his lungs but the doctors say he is improving,” Greg Hillis said. “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!!!”
Hillis’ fans left comments on Cole’s post sharing messages of support for the recovering ex-athlete.
“I’m so happy to hear this,” one Instagram user wrote. “Please let him know that this Cleveland Browns fan/Peyton Hillis fan has been praying for him and will continue to pray for him and your entire family.”
“Amazing news! Continued prayers from a Clevelander,” another said.
After playing college ball at the University of Arkansas, Hillis was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2008. During his seven-year NFL career, Hillis also played for the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants. He was featured on the cover of “Madden NFL 12” following a breakout year with the Browns during which he rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 11 rushing touchdowns.