Multiple first responders rushed to Pensacola Beach earlier this month to tend to Peyton Hillis after the former NFL star nearly drowned while trying to save his children ... new police video, obtained by TMZ Sports, shows.
In the footage, captured on an Escambia County Sheriff's deputy's body camera, you can see Hillis was in bad shape on the Florida sand after he was pulled from the water on Jan. 4.
The ex-Cleveland Browns running back, who did not have a shirt on, appeared to be breathing heavily ... and seemed to be in a great deal of pain.
But, at least four medics on the scene provided him aid ... administering an IV while checking his vitals.
At one point, they even helped him roll over on his side to make him more comfortable -- while providing a beach towel as a pillow. They also urged him to keep talking in an effort to make sure his condition wasn't worsening.
They eventually got the 36-year-old off the beach and into a helicopter ... which flew him to a nearby medical facility for treatment.
Hillis' initial prognosis wasn't good -- his uncle said in a Facebook post he suffered damage to his lungs and kidneys in the swimming accident -- but, thankfully, his longtime girlfriend said last week he had a breakthrough and was "on the road to recovery."
Hillis now seems to be in far better condition -- he was just seen smiling in his hospital bed on Thursday after Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith popped by his room for a visit.
Smith called Hillis "a recovering hero" -- adding, "Stay strong Peyton! Praying for you, your family and wishing you a speedy recovery."