Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis’ kidneys have become concern for doctors as he remains in critical condition at a Florida intensive care following last week’s swimming accident.
Hillis reportedly rescued his two children from drowning at a Pensacola beach on Wednesday, but was airlifted to a local hospital with lung and kidney damage as a result. Since then, the other issues have improved, while his kidneys remain a concern, according to Memphis’ WREG.com.
WREG’s reporter was told that Hillis is ‘battling and definitely needs as many prayers as he can get,’ according to an article on the website. It’s unclear who offered that update to the reporter.
A prayer vigil was held in Hillis’ native Arkansas on Sunday. Hillis has been volunteering as an assistant coach on his son’s team. Both that son, Orry, and Hillis’ young daughter were uninjured in the swimming accident.
The 36-year-old Hillis reportedly saved both his children from potentially drowning, but ended up in intensive care for treatment on his lungs and kidneys as a result. Both children – Hillis’ son, Orry, and his younger daughter – are safe and neither needed to be hospitalized
A prayer vigil was held in Hillis’ native Arkansas on Sunday
‘One of the great things about being a body of believers is relationship and community, and it’s about being not only here to pray for people, but it’s also here, it’s also to be here to support them through times like this,’ Bryant Davis, coach of the Hillis’ football team, told Little Rock’s CBS affiliate.
‘It was not a surprise to hear that Peyton went in the water after his child and that he got him to safety and that he was fine, and that he risked his life,’ one team parent, Kelsey Eursery, told CBS. ‘And at this point, we’re just praying that that’s not what it’s going to cost him.’
‘That’s sacrificial living,’ added coach Jordan Wright. ‘That’s selflessness. It’s going out and risking it to save your kids. I mean, that’s amazing.’
Photographs from the scene show a helicopter and two ambulances rushing to the scene on Wednesday. Another adult was also rushed to the hospital, according to TMZ.
The University of Arkansas, Hillis’ alma mater, released an update Friday: ‘Encouraged to learn he’s doing better after his heroic act saving his family.’
Retired NFL running back Peyton Hillis remains hospitalized after a swimming accident in Florida, where emergency responders airlifted the former Cleveland Browns star from a Pensacola beach, as seen in newly surfaced photographs
Hillis’ children are seen with his now-ex-wife, Amanda, during his short tenure in Kansas City
Hillis pictured with girlfriend Angela Cole, an actress, who is not the mother of his children
The Razorbacks aren’t the only ones praising Hillis for his parenting skills.
‘What a remarkable dad doing the ultimate sacrifice for his kids and praying he gets better and be there again for his kids,’ wrote one Twitter user.
‘Many kids think of their dad as their hero, but Peyton Hillis’ kids can now literally say their dad saved their life,’ added another.
Hillis was reportedly unconscious on Wednesday after being airlifted to a local hospital, where his breathing is now ‘improving’ in the intensive care unit, according to an update.
A man identified as Hillis’ uncle revealed the update in a Facebook post on Thursday night, adding that his nephew was having trouble with his lungs and kidneys.
‘I just wanted to let everyone know on Razorback Nation that Peyton is doing better,’ Greg Hillis wrote. ‘He’s still in intensive care and having some problems with his kidneys and his lungs but the doctors say he is improving.’
Former Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya also called for fans to pray for Hillis
A Browns spokesperson declined to comment, saying the team was waiting for news of Hillis’ condition to be confirmed before doing so.
Hillis former agent, Kennard McGuire, did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Chris Ogbonnaya, another former Browns running back, asked fans on Twitter to pray for his old teammate: ‘Please keep former teammate Peyton Hillis in your thoughts and prayers.’
Former NFL safety Antoine Bethea had a similar post: ‘Prayers for Peyton Hillis!!’
Many online reactions praised Hillis as a good father and likeable man. One podcaster was particularly fond of his times with Hillis.
‘Peyton Hillis is a super good dude,’ tweeted a podcaster known as Sir Yacht. ‘An absolute goofball and I mean that in the best way possible. He is a hero for saving his kids from drowning today. I’m praying hard for him and I hope he has a safe and fast recovery.’
‘Guy saved his kids from drowning and is now hospitalized,’ wrote one Twitter user. ‘Speedy recovery for a dad putting his children above all, some people don’t always.’
The University of Arkansas , Hillis’ alma mater, released an update Friday: ‘Encouraged to learn he’s doing better after his heroic act saving his family’
The former Browns star had been trying his hand at acting in recent years and appeared in the horror film, The Hunting, in 2021.
He co-starred with actress Angela Cole in that film, and the two are now dating.
The film was a sort of homecoming for Hillis, as it was filmed in the Cleveland suburb of Mantua, Ohio.
Cole first went public with their relationship in a Facebook post on July 6, 2022.
Cole confirmed the relationship in a social media post on July 6, 2022
Cole wrote: ‘I don’t care what they say about ya, Peyt. I think you’re pretty great. Sometimes there’s someone that comes into your life and changes everything. I’m so incredibly grateful for you.’
Hillis appeared to confirm the relationship on his unverified Instagram page in August.
He said: ‘I mean the Bahamas was beautiful… but she’s just’ before adding several emojis with hearts in them.’
Hillis divorced the mother of his children, Amanda, in 2020.
After beginning his career with the Denver Broncos, Hillis was traded to the Browns along with a sixth-round pick for backup QB Brady Quinn.
In four years at the University of Arkansas, Hillis totaled 960 rushing yards and 1,197 receiving yards while scoring 23 touchdowns.
Hillis is best known for his 2010 season with Cleveland, where he put up 1,600 total yards and 13 total touchdowns. As a result of that campaign, he won a national vote to be the cover athlete for the video game EA Sports Madden 12.
Hillis’s spectacular 2010 season led to fans voting him onto the cover of EA Sports’ Madden 12
After two seasons in Cleveland, he left as a free agent to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He concluded his professional career with stints playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants.
Hillis retired in 2015 at the request of his doctor due to a history of concussions.
He spoke to Bleacher Report in 2015 about his frank struggles with mental health and depression as he chose to leave the game he loved.
‘I was going through real bad depression during that time,’ he said of his years in Cleveland in particular. ‘I was getting help because I couldn’t sleep, I was so upset that everything was going down the way it was and nobody could understand.
Of his decision to retire, he said: ‘After a while, it got too hard. I didn’t care as much anymore, I didn’t care to work at it. Football brought me down. I still love the game and I still have a lot of friends in the game, but as far as NFL football goes, my heart’s just not in it anymore.’
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