Community rallies around paralyzed Shawville hockey player

A 19-year-old hockey player from Shawville, Que., is paralyzed from the neck down after crashing into the boards during a game nearly two weeks ago.

Events planned to raise money for 19-year-old Shawville Pontiacs player Brett Nugent and his family

A 19-year-old hockey player suffered a spinal injury during a game nearly two weeks ago. 2:39

A 19-year-old hockey player from Shawville, Que., is paralyzed from the neck down after crashing into the boards during a game nearly two weeks ago. 

Brett Nugent, an electrical engineering student at Heritage College in Hull, plays with the Shawville Pontiacs Junior B hockey team.

Brett Nugent, 19, suffered a spinal injury after he crashed into the boards during a hockey game nearly two weeks ago. (Photo courtesy of Nugent family)

Since sustaining the injury he has undergone two surgeries, but his long-term prognosis is not yet known. He's listed in serious condition at the intensive care unit of The Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus.

Nugent's older brother and sister — Anthony and Chantal Nugent ​— said the family hasn't really slept since the accident. They have relocated to Ottawa from their home in Luskville, Que., to be closer to their injured brother.

They said their brother has loved hockey all his life.

"He's always the first one to invite everybody over after the game, just a try to be friends with everybody kind of guy," Anthony Nugent said. "He's always at the rink ... he just loves being around his friends."

'It wasn't a dirty hit,' brother says

He said the hit Brett Nugent took before crashing into the boards wasn't a bad one.

"It wasn't like a dirty hit or anything," Anthony Nugent said. "It was just a hockey play ... and he went the wrong way on it and crashed into the boards.

Anthony and Chantal Nugent say their family has been overwhelmed by the community's support. (CBC)

"He's already been told that whatever's ahead for him, there's going to be lots of therapy and lots of work and dedication. He's used to that kind of stuff, so he's not really worried about that. He just kind of wishes he could start tomorrow," Anthony Nugent said.

Brett Nugent also helps coach hockey at Next Generation Hockey. His fellow coach Derek Miller said the players at his hockey school are missing one of their favourite instructors.

"Even this morning I had kids with tears in their eyes, coming up asking how he was, can I send him a card, and when can I see him?" Miller said.

"Whenever you're around him you're always in a good mood."

Events planned to raise money

Shawville's tight-knit hockey community has banded together to help the Nugent family. They've launched a Facebook page and Twitter account to raise money and offer support to his family.

The Perth Blue Wings are donating all admissions and 50/50 ticket sales from its game against the Ottawa Junior Canadians on Nov. 15. The team will also be matching every dollar raised.

The Nugents said they're overwhelmed by the support.

"It means so much because we haven't really had to do anything," Chantal Nugent said. "They're taking care of everything for us right now."


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