A former college football player is being hailed as a hero after saving a toddler’s life at the very last second.

28-year-old Phillip Banks, a former Kalamazoo wide receiver and Marine veteran, was caught on video sprinting and diving to save the life of a three-year-old boy who was thrown desperately from a burning building. The boy and his eight-year-old sister both survived the blaze, but were critically injured. Tragically, their mother didn’t survive the fire after her desperate attempt to save her baby.

Blanks told WWMT about what he saw as he came upon the scene, having gotten up early to go work out with a friend who lived next to the apartment.

“People were screaming ‘there are kids up there’ and to throw the kids down,” he told the news station.”I saw another guy was standing there ready to catch the boy, but he didn’t look like he was going to do it, so I stepped in front of him. The way I caught him damaged his foot, but the most important thing is his head was safe.”

Blanks is now attempting to find the children and their father to “help them out as much as [he] can.”

Though this is a tragic situation, the quick-thinking, great reflexes, and heroism of this veteran helped ensure that this little boy was given a fighting chance at survival.

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