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Victim in alleged assault by former Rutgers and Minnesota QB Philip Nelson showing improvement

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
Details emerge on ex-football player's injuries
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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)

Nearly three weeks after former Rutgers and Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson was arrested for assault, the victim in the incident – former Minnesota State linebacker Isaac Kolstad – is showing improvement in his condition.

Kolstad is still in a coma after suffering severe injuries including bleeding of the brain, brain swelling, brain shifting and deterioration of the lungs from a lack of oxygen, but his brother-in-law wrote on Kolstad's caringbridge.com page that Kolstad does not need “additional brain surgeries to repair damage.”

“Miracles are truly happening. Every day we are seeing small signs of improvement, small victories of potential recovery. To put it into perspective, when Isaac arrived in the Emergency Room on the night of his injury the physician’s scored him according to the Glasgow Coma Scale. The scale is scored 3-15. That night, Isaac scored a 3. His neurosurgical team of Mayo Physicians, both here in Mankato and in Rochester who were working as a team for his case, informed us that through their experience and through outside research, 97% of cases that arrive with scores below 5 do not survive or are left in a vegetative state. There was little hope that he would make any type of recovery. But right now, our Isaac is in the 3%, he is surviving.”

Nelson and another man, Trevor Shelley, are facing first and third-degree assault charges after Shelley, on May 11 in downtown Mankato, Minn., reportedly punched Kolstad in the head, immediately knocking him out. Kolstad smacked his head on the pavement as he fell and then Nelson is alleged to have kicked him in the head as he lay defenseless on the ground.

Nelson, who transferred to Rutgers from Minnesota in January, was subsequently kicked off the team by head coach Kyle Flood on May 13. According to NJ.com, both Nelson and Shelley are “facing a maximum of 25 years in prison.”

The family’s previous updates did not provide much hope that Kolstad would survive, so this is some much needed good news in this situation.

(H/T College Football Talk)

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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