An Ottawa father of three may never walk again after suffering a serious spinal cord injury during a casual hockey game over the weekend.

Rene Faucher, 40, was playing a game of pickup hockey on Sunday when he went head-first into the boards at the University of Ottawa Sports Complex.

He immediately underwent surgery, and is paralyzed from the neck down - even though he was wearing a helmet. Doctors say it's too soon to know if he will ever be able to walk again.

"We have to wait until the spinal shock subsides to understand what the long term recovery road looks like," his brother Marc told CTV Ottawa.

Faucher and his wife Dianne Douglas have three children under the age of five. He is self-employed and does not have long-term disability insurance.

Douglas says it's something she never thought her family would have to deal with.

"Coming home to get that call, you just don't ever think something serious would happen to you," she said.

Family and friends are now appealing to the community to step in and help. Faucher's brother said the support has been overwhelming.

Those wishing to make a donation can do so at any Scotiabank branch. Donations can be made to the Faucher Douglas Trust Fund, branch 25486, account 0016713.

Cheques payable to the "Faucher Douglas Trust Fund" can also be mailed to the attention of Russ Reil at Scotiabank, Markdale, Ont., N0C 1H0.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem