Family says victim in alleged Nelson assault had part of brain removed

Nick Bromberg
May 18, 2014
Details emerge on ex-football player's injuries
Former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson leaves the Blue Earth Co jail with a towel on his head after posting $20,000 bail in his assault case stemming from a fight outside a bar that left another former football player in critical condition with head injuries, in Mankato, Minn, Monday, May 12, 2014. Authorities say Nelson kicked Isaac Dallas Kolstad, 24, in the head after another man punched and knocked him to the ground early Sunday as bars were closing in Mankato. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Richard Tsong-Taatarii)

The family of Isaac Kolstad posted an update to Kolstad's Caring Bridge page Saturday and said Kolstad had "a significant amount" of brain tissue removed in a surgery earlier in the week and he also underwent a tracheotomy.

Kolstad has been in the hospital since an incident in the early morning of May 9 that led to former Minnesota and Rutgers QB Philip Nelson being charged with assault.

Police say that Nelson is seen on security cameras kicking Kolstad in the head in Mankato, Minn. Kolstad, 24, is a former linebacker at Minnesota State Mankato and is married with a young daughter.

"Due to the injuries Isaac sustained early last Sunday morning, his brain had severe bruising and swelling, increasing the pressure within his skull to life-threatening levels. In order to relieve the swelling, he required emergency surgery on his brain early Tuesday morning. Isaac had a significant amount of his brain tissue that was no longer viable removed during that procedure," the statement in part said.

"Even though the surgery was successful, the swelling in Isaac’s brain remains significant; leaving him at high risk for further injury and potentially additional surgical procedures. Isaac’s lungs also sustained severe injury, resulting in the inability to breathe on his own. He also sustained a lack of oxygen to his brain.

"Isaac continues to be in a medically induced coma, utilizing life support to keep him breathing. Yesterday, Friday, May 16, Isaac underwent his second major surgery, a Tracheotomy operation. This helps manage his breathing while on life support."

According to the criminal complaint about the incident, the video shows Kolstad first punching Nelson in the back. Another male who is also charged in the incident then punched Kolstad in the head. After the punch, Kolstad went to the ground limp, where Nelson then kicked him. Nelso was allegedly mad because a bouncer at a bar was flirting with his girlfriend.

Nelson transferred to Rutgers after the season. On Tuesday, Rutgers dismissed him from the football team, a day after he posted $20,000 bail.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!