A man in his sixties suffered life-threatening head injuries while playing pond hockey on the Rideau River with family and friends Sunday afternoon.

Paramedics received an emergency call just after 3 pm in the Town of Oxford, just west of Kemptville.

Steven Lew of Ottawa Paramedics told 1310News the man was not wearing a helmet when he fell on the ice.

“At some point during the game, he tripped and fell backwards striking his head on the surface of the ice,” said Lew.

“We really encourage people if you’re a beginner skater or even an expert, you should have a helmet on when you’re on the ice.”

The man is listed in critical condition after being air-lifted to the Ottawa Trauma Unit.