Christian McCaffrey helps save 72-year-old man who fell 20 feet on Colorado hike

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.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 02: Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LII Radio Row at the Mall of America on February 2, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey at the team's first practice of training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 09: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs against the Houston Texans during the preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 9, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers watches on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 25: NFL player Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers sits down to play 'Call of Duty: WWII' during its first beta via livestream at The Westin Charlotte on August 25, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images for Activision)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during pregame warm ups prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up during pregame warm ups prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 24: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs against the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 12: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates a fourth quarter touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 12, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 01: Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) gets around end during a game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers on October 1, 2017, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 29: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers looks on before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Bucs 17-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 05: Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) celebrates a touchdown during 1st half of the Carolina Panthers versus the Atlanta Falcons on November 5, 2017, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Running Back Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers in action against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24: Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) during the first half between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers on December 24, 2017 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by Jim Dedmon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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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.

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.”

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