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Ex-NFL star Peyton Hillis is seen being rescued and airlifted to the hospital in dramatic pictures

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Ex-NFL star Peyton Hillis is seen being rescued and airlifted to the hospital in dramatic pictures

Retired NFL running back Peyton Hillis remains hospitalized after a swimming accident in Florida, where emergency responders rescued the former Cleveland Browns star from a Pensacola beach, as seen in newly released photos .

The 36-year-old Hillis reportedly saved her children from possible drowning, but ended up in intensive care for treatment of her lungs and kidneys as a result. Both children – Hillis’ son, Orry, and her younger daughter – were safe and did not need to be hospitalized.

Pictures showed 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, issued an update on Friday: ‘Encouraging to know he is doing better after his heroic act of saving his family.’

Retired NFL running back Peyton Hillis remains hospitalized after a swimming accident in Florida, where emergency responders carried the former Cleveland Browns star off a Pensacola beach, as seen in newly released photos .

Retired NFL running back Peyton Hillis remains hospitalized after a swimming accident in Florida, where emergency responders carried the former Cleveland Browns star off a Pensacola beach, as seen in newly released photos .

The 36-year-old Hillis reportedly saved her children from possible drowning, but ended up in intensive care for treatment of her lungs and kidneys as a result.

Both children ¿ Hillis' son Orry, and her younger daughter ¿ were safe and did not need to be hospitalized

The 36-year-old Hillis reportedly saved her children from possible drowning, but ended up in intensive care for treatment of her lungs and kidneys as a result. Both children – Hillis’ son, Orry, and her younger daughter – were safe and did not need to be hospitalized

The Razorbacks aren’t the only ones praising Hillis for her parenting skills.

‘What an amazing father who makes the ultimate sacrifice for his children and prays that he recovers and is there for his children again,’ one Twitter user wrote.

‘A lot of kids think of their dad as their hero, but Peyton Hillis’ kids can now literally say their dad saved their life,’ added another.

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Hillis was reported unconscious Wednesday after being transported to a local hospital, where his breathing is now “improving” in the intensive care unit, according to an update.

A chaotic scene is pictured on a Pensacola beach, where Peyton Hillis was rescued following a swimming accident on Wednesday

A chaotic scene is pictured on a Pensacola beach, where Peyton Hillis was rescued following a swimming accident on Wednesday

A man identified as Hillis’ uncle gave the update in a Facebook post Thursday night, adding that his nephew was having problems with his lungs and kidneys.

‘Just wanted to let everyone in Razorback Nation know that Peyton is doing better,’ wrote Greg Hillis. ‘He is still in intensive care and has problems with his kidneys and lungs but doctors say he is improving.’

A Browns spokesman 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!!’

Pictures showed a helicopter and two ambulances rushing to the scene on Wednesday.  Another adult was also rushed to the hospital, according to TMZ

Pictures showed a helicopter and two ambulances rushing to the scene on Wednesday. Another adult was also rushed to the hospital, according to TMZ

Hillis was seen being transferred to an ambulance after a swimming accident at a beach in Florida

Hillis was seen being transferred to an ambulance after a swimming accident at a beach in Florida

Many online reactions praise Hillis as a good father and lovable person. One podcaster is particularly fond of his time with Hillis.

‘Peyton Hillis is a super good dude,’ tweeted the podcaster known as Sir Yacht. ‘A complete goofball and I mean that in the best way possible. He is a hero for saving his children from drowning today. I am praying hard for him and hope he has a safe and speedy recovery.’

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‘Guy saved his kids from drowning and is now in hospital,’ one Twitter user wrote. ‘Get well soon for a father who puts his children first, some people don’t always.’

The former Browns star tried 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 homecoming of sorts for Hillis, as it was shot in the Cleveland suburb of Mantua, Ohio.

Cole first went public with their relationship in a Facebook post on July 6, 2022.

Cole wrote: ‘I don’t care what they say about you, Peyt. I think you are very good. Sometimes someone comes into your life and changes everything. I am very grateful to you.’

Hillis appeared to confirm the relationship on her unverified Instagram page in August.

He said: ‘I mean the Bahamas is beautiful… but it’s just him’ before adding some emojis with hearts in them.’

Former Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya also called for fans to pray for Hillis

Former Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya also called for fans to pray for Hillis

The University of Arkansas, Hillis' alma mater, issued an update on Friday: 'Encouraging to know he is doing better after his heroic act of saving his family'

The University of Arkansas, Hillis’ alma mater, issued an update on Friday: ‘Encouraging to know he is doing better after his heroic act of saving his family’

Hillis' children were seen with his ex-wife, Amanda, during his brief tenure in Kansas City

Hillis’ children were seen with his ex-wife, Amanda, during his brief tenure in Kansas City

Hillis is pictured with girlfriend Angela Cole, an actress, who is not the mother of his children

Hillis is pictured with girlfriend Angela Cole, an actress, who is not the mother of his children

Hillis divorced the mother of his children, Amanda, in 2020.

After starting his career with the Denver Broncos, Hillis was traded to the Browns along with a sixth-round pick for backup QB Brady Quinn.

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In four years at the University of Arkansas, Hillis totaled 960 rushing yards and 1,197 receiving yards while scoring 23 touchdowns.

Cole confirmed the relationship in a social media post on July 6, 2022

Cole confirmed the relationship in a social media post on July 6, 2022

Hillis is best known for his 2010 season in 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.

After two seasons in Cleveland, he left as a free agent to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.

He finished his professional career playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 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 candid struggles with mental health and depression as he chose to leave the game he loved.

‘I was going through a really bad depression at the time,’ he says of his years in Cleveland in particular. ‘I’m asking for help because I can’t sleep, I’m so upset that everything is going down in this way and no one will understand.

Of his decision to retire, he said: ‘After a while, it became very difficult. I don’t care anymore, I don’t care anymore. Football let 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 isn’t in it anymore.’

Hillis' spectacular season in 2010 led to fans voting him on the cover of EA Sports' Madden 12.

Hillis’ spectacular 2010 season led to fans voting him the cover of EA Sports’ Madden 12