A Belle River man is trying to recover after falling off a ladder and fracturing his skull.

Joey Gagnier, 57, fell onto a concrete floor while trying to put something in the attic in their shed.

He was rushed to hospital and had to have emergency brain surgery to relieve pressure on the brain. Doctors say there's a long road to recovery which will require extensive therapy. 

Gagnier's wife, Janel, says "they couldn't stop the bleeding. It was so severe."

"Right now skin is just over his brain, there's no protection if he was to fall," says his wife.

Part of his skull was removed and carefully inserted in his abdomen an operation called a "bone flap."

"They put it under the skin in his abdomen to keep it viable and fresh," says Janel Gagnier.

He was in the intensive care unit for 11 days.

"He was hooked up to all these machines,” says Janel Gagnier. “He's the strongest person I know so to see him so vulnerable was really hard."

Doctors told the family, the fall could affect his motor function, speech, problem solving, and memory.

His daughter, Paige, is encouraging homeowners to be cautious when working on particular tasks around the house.

"It doesn't matter if you have done it a thousand times before, accidents happen," says Paige Gagnier.

Jim Addison is a skilled trades instructor at St. Clair College. He tells CTV News there are many precautions you should take when using a ladder.

“Make sure your ladder is on solid ground, if you’re not the chances of you falling is much greater," says Addison.

"Make sure the ladder is open with the arms in the down locked position."

He says if you are going to go anymore then let's say the fourth step, you want to make sure some spots you.

Gagnier's family agrees, saying tips like these could have prevented his fall. They say it’s the worst feeling ever when you know someone you love have to go through that trauma.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with his rehabilitation.

There will also be a pasta fundraiser on Dec.2 at the St. Simon and St. Jude Hall in Belle River.