June 28 (UPI) — This offseason, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was able to help save a man’s life after seeing him fall from a rock while climbing in Colorado.
McCaffrey detailed the day’s events in a video released Wednesday by the Panthers.
Dan Smoker Sr. was hiking with his grandson in March at Rock Park in Castle Rock, Colo., just south of Denver. Castle Rock has a trail, including a dirt path before thrill seekers can opt to boulder up a cliff. McCaffrey was hiking the trail with four brothers and friends the same day.
Smoker, 73, and his grandson reached the top of the climb and had just finished viewing landmarks and taking a selfie when they began to descend. McCaffrey’s group saw the duo coming down and Smoke slip from a rock and fall — hitting a rock before landing between more rocks.
“As we turned the corner — it sticks with me pretty heavy — I look up and I see there’s an older man with a younger kid,” McCaffrey said.
The Panthers star and his group sprung into action, getting to the man and boy to help. They helped keep Smoker alive before emergency responders arrived.
“When I saw his eyes start to roll back, I was pretty panicked so I forgot about telling [the 911 operator] that. That was kind of the moment I didn’t think he would make it at all,” McCaffrey said.
The man was hospitalized but will recover.
Afterward, Smoker and his family were invited to attend the Panthers’ Sept. 23 bout against the Cincinnati Bengals. They also received a $1,500 shopping spree at Academy Sports + Outdoors, according to the Panthers.
McCaffrey, 22, was born in Castle Rock. The second-year running back had 435 yards and two touchdowns on 117 carries during his rookie campaign. He also had 80 receptions for 651 yards and five scores as a pass-catcher.