A fun-loving dad was left paralysed from the neck down after a freak accident at a soft play centre.

Ashley Hooper, 31, from Wales, bashed his head into the padded bar of a climbing frame while he was playing with daughter Lottie, 5, in the "safe" indoor play area.

The devoted dad suffered severe spinal damage during the £4.95 ($9.70) session at the Once Upon a Playtime centre - and collapsed in pain.

Hooper was rushed to hospital by ambulance from the playcentre for emergency surgery on his spine.

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Medics operated on his damaged spinal cord - removing bones from his neck to relieve pressure and adding a metal rod to keep him straight.

Partner Carly Fraser, 29, said the family hopes he will fully recover as he has started to regain movement in his toes and legs.

She said: "While in the play frame he hit his head on one of the padded bars with such a force it compressed his spine leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

"His spinal cord is bruised and swollen and because he's got a narrow spinal canal there wasn't a lot of room to allow for swelling.

"The swelling is compressing on nerves which left him in severe pains through his upper body."

Fraser said his spine has now been stabilised following the operation on the housing company worker at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, South Wales.

She said: "He is on flat bed rest for 6 weeks and in time we are hoping and praying that Ashley will start to regain movement of his limbs.

"He's already made amazing progress."

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The shock injury took place at Once Upon a Playtime in Bridgend.

Staff said it "quickly became apparent" the injury was serious and the Welsh Ambulance Service was called.

Fraser said: "The doctors are very happy and while they can't guarantee anything they believe that he's heading in the right direction.

"Recovery of this type of injury varies from person to person but Ashley is so positive and confident and is fighting every single day.

"All we can all do is hope and pray for the best possible outcome."

The playcentre encourages adults to play with their little ones during the soft play sessions.

It states: "Why should you miss out on all the fun!! All of our equipment is designed and built with adults in mind, so join in with the dress up and try out the slides."

The staff at the playcentre have raised over £500 ($978) to help the family.

A playcentre spokeswoman said: "We as a staff have been completely devastated by these events, but that does not compare to what Ashley's family are going through - and we would like to show our support for them."