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Former Broncos running back Peyton Hillis discharged from hospital weeks after rescuing kids from drowning at Florida beach

Former NFL player Peyton Hillis has been discharged from a Florida hospital, where he spent weeks in intensive care after saving his children from drowning in a lake, his girlfriend and sister said on social media.

Denver Broncos v New York Jets
Peyton Hillis of the Denver Broncos runs the ball against the New York Jets on Nov. 30, 2008, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

"God is so good!" wrote Angela Cole, Hillis' girlfriend, on Instagram Saturday, captioning a photo that appeared to have been taken inside a room at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. In it, Cole and Hillis are smiling and surrounded by a medical care team.

"Peyton has been discharged from the hospital," Cole wrote. "The amount of love and gratitude I have for the incredible team that took care of Peyton is indescribable. This picture does not have anywhere near the amount of people who took such great care of him."

He was admitted to the Gulf Coast hospital in early January, after he — along with his sister, Hayley Davis, according to their uncle, Greg Hillis — rescued his kids from drowning at a beach in the area. As Cole, Davis and Greg Hillis noted in separate social media updates over the last several weeks, Hillis was receiving treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit and, for a time, using a ventilator.

Cole reported that Hillis had been taken off the ventilator and was "on the road to recovery" in an earlier Instagram post shared on Jan. 11, about one week after the swimming accident.

"So proud of this man and so incredibly grateful for family and this incredible hospital. Peyton is off the ventilator and is on the road to recovery," Cole wrote. "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. Today was a good day."

Greg Hillis shared a similarly positive update about his nephew's health status around the same time. In a Facebook post, he said that, although Hillis remained in intensive care due to "some problems with his kidneys and his lungs," doctors determined that his overall condition was "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 left the hospital on Friday of last week, according to Davis, who said "everything health wise is looking good and has all improved." She called her brother's recovery "a miracle."

Hillis, who just turned 37 on Saturday, is a former NFL running back who played for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants. His best season came in 2010, when he rushed for 1,177 yards and scored a total of 13 touchdowns for the Browns.

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