Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is credited with saving a man's life after witnessing a man fall from a rock while hiking. Time
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was among a group of people who came to the rescue of a 72-year-old hiker who fell about 20 feet onto a rock and suffered serious injuries during a hike last Saturday in Castle Rock, Colo.
McCaffrey was hiking with friends and family — including brothers Dylan and Max — when he witnessed Dan Smoker Sr. abruptly fall while hiking with his 13-year-old grandson, Eli Smoker.
“It felt like he was in the air for 10 seconds,” Christian McCaffrey told Panthers.com. “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 and rushed to help Smoker Sr. His friend Michael Mann performed chest compressions when Smoker Sr. stopped breathing.
"Everybody stepped up," McCaffrey said. "I called 911, and it felt like an eternity. It felt like we were up there waiting for four hours. But I looked back at my call log and it took 11 minutes before the paramedics came. Amazing what those guys did.
"Truly a blessing that we turned the corner (on the hike) at that exact moment and we could be there for him. I don't know what would have happened ... We were lucky to be at the right place at the right time."
Smoker Sr. broke his neck, femur and pelvis, suffered internal bleeding in the brain, and has nine fractured ribs. He was listed in critical but stable condition.
Smoker’s son, Dan Smoker Jr., who was celebrating his wedding anniversary in San Diego when he got the call from his son, emotionally applauded McCaffrey’s group as the reason his father was alive.
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“I credit them with saving my dad’s life,” Dan Smoker Jr. told the Panthers’ team website. “My dad is laying there and there is nothing I can do for him. And my son is there freaking out, and there’s nothing I can do for him. It was the worst experience, both as a father and as a son.”
McCaffrey visited the hospital a day after the accident and has stayed in touch with the family through the incident.
"Eli was such a trooper, man," McCaffrey said. "I was traumatized, and I had no relation."
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