PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Ex-NFL running back Peyton Hillis is off the ventilator and recovering after rescuing children at Pensacola Beach.

Hillis was airlifted to a local hospital last week, and was having trouble with his lungs and kidneys. He was placed in the ICU.

Hillis’ girlfriend Angela Cole posted an update on Instragram Thursday saying, “A hero. 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. Please continue to pray for he’s still got a ways ahead of him, but thank you for all your prayers and love and support thus far. It truly makes all the difference. Today was a good day.”

The former Arkansas running back played for several NFL teams, including the Cleveland Browns, where his one-thousand yard rushing season in 2010 landed him on the cover of Madden.