Reports: Peyton Hillis in ICU after swimming accident off Florida coast

Former NFL running back hospitalized Thursday, family says

New York Giants running back Peyton Hillis (33) rushes against the Buffalo Bills during the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition NFL football game Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Canton, Ohio. New York won 17-13. (AP Photo/David Richard) (David Richard, AP 2014)

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Former NFL running back Peyton Hillis is doing better Friday after being hospitalized in critical condition from a swimming accident off the coast in Pensacola, according to his family.

Hillis was placed in an intensive care unit Thursday as doctors relayed to his family the 36-year-old was “having some problems with his kidneys and his lungs” following the ordeal, according to a Facebook post by his uncle Greg Hillis. It was since confirmed that Hillis had been involved in a “swimming accident” in Pensacola and was unconscious in the ICU as of Thursday night, as reported by Alyssa Orange with KNWA-TV in Arkansas.

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No official word has yet come down on the circumstances of the accident. Several online reports say Hillis jumped into the water to save his children from drowning. TMZ and other sites report the children are OK.

Hillis last played for the NFL in the 2014 season. A former star player for the Cleveland Browns — with other seasons noted as part of the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs — reports of Hillis’ hospitalization have prompted an outpouring of support on social media from scores of his fans.

These reports come about a week after Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was credited last Thursday with helping rescue four people after a helicopter crashed off Florida’s west coast, according to Tampa police.

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Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.