Former NFL star Peyton Hillis is off ventilator and recovering after saving his children from drowning

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Hillis is off a ventilator and “on the road to recovery” just a week after saving his children from drowning on a Florida beach last week, his girlfriend said Wednesday.

Hillis’ friend, Angela Cole, called him a “hero” on Instagram, adding that she was “so proud of this man and so incredibly grateful for his family and this incredible hospital.”

Cole also thanked Hillis’ family, friends, medical staff and fans for their support.

“Please keep praying because he still has a ways to go but thank you for all your prayers, love and support so far. It really matters,” she said. “Today was a good day.”

The day after the incident, Hillis’ uncle, Greg Hillis, wrote on Facebook that the nephew’s health is already “improving”.

“He’s still in intensive care and has some kidney and lung problems, but the doctors say he’s getting better,” Greg Hillis said. “I just wanted to prevent any rumors that might go around. I’m sure he would want everyone to know that he appreciates all the prayers that go out on his behalf!!!”

Hillis’ fans left comments on Cole’s post, sharing messages of support for the recovering former athlete.

“I’m so glad to hear that,” wrote one Instagram user. “Please let him know that this Cleveland Browns/Peyton Hillis fan has been praying for him and will continue to pray for him and your entire family.”

“Amazing news! Clevelander continues prayers,” said another.

After playing collegiately 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” after a breakout year with the Browns in which he rushed for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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