On Saturday, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was hiking with his brothers and some friends near the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver in his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado.
They came across 72-year-old Dan Smoker Sr. and his grandson Eli Smoker when Dan took a fall. McCaffrey watched as Dan plummeted almost 20 feet in the air onto a rock below in a scene he described for Panthers.com.
“It felt like he was in the air for 10 seconds,” McCaffrey said. “I had never seen anything quite like that in my life as far as the trauma and the sound. We were in shock.”
McCaffrey called 911 while a pair of hikers stabilized and gave chest compressions to Smoker. McCaffrey said paramedics arrived within 11 minutes, but the situation looked bad for the fallen hiker. Other hikers comforted Eli, who called his father, Dan Smoker Jr., who was in San Diego.
When Smoker arrived at the hospital, he was diagnosed with a broken femur, broken pelvis, internal bleeding, bleeding on the brain, nine fractured ribs and a broken neck, according to Panthers.com.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Smoker was in critical condition, but moving his hands and feet, The Denver Post reports.
Michael Mann, @run__cmc and @notoriousmax25 are great football players, but even better humans. Yesterday, they helped save my dads life after he fell off of Castle Rock. They comforted my son when he was alone. Then showed up at the hospital to check in. @AdamSchefter @espn pic.twitter.com/MVAdbr2gYV
— Dan Smoker (@dsmokexu) March 4, 2018
McCaffrey, along with his brother Max and former high school teammate Michael Mann visited the Smokers in the hospital on Sunday after the fall. Dan Jr. told The Post he believes they saved his father’s life.
“I truly believe they saved my dad’s life,” he said. “My dad has a very, very long road ahead of him, but the doctors at this point have shifted from, ‘If he recovers,’ to ‘when he recovers.’ But without them, we would have never been here right now.”