Isaac Kolstad 'fighting for life'

Former Minnesota State University, Mankato, linebacker Isaac Kolstad is "fighting for his life" after sustaining permanent brain damage from injuries received in an alleged assault that resulted in Rutgers quarterback Philip Nelson being arrested early Sunday morning.

Blaine Kolstad, Isaac's father, posted on Sunday night that his 24-year-old son is in critical condition, has had surgery to put a pressure gauge in his skull and may need additional procedures.

"He is currently in critical condition and fighting for his life," Blaine Kolstad wrote. "He is young and strong, but the battle he has in front of him is enormous. ... We do know that his brain did sustain permanent damage. We do not yet know to what extent and won't for many days. He is very sick. Please pray for Isaac and all of those involved."

Nelson, who transferred to Rutgers from Minnesota earlier this year, was arrested at the scene and jailed early Sunday on suspicion of assault after officers came across Kolstad in the Mankato downtown entertainment district at 2 a.m.

Kolstad was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. He graduated from Mankato East and spent two seasons at North Dakota State in 2008 and 2009, did not play in 2010 and transferred to Minnesota State for his junior and senior years. He started all 12 games last season and finished third on the team in tackles with 59.

A candlelight vigil for Kolstad was held at Minnesota State on Sunday evening.

Police are requesting felony charges of third-degree assault against Nelson, KTOE-AM reported.

Nelson, 20, played two years at Minnesota and started nine games last season before announcing in January that he would transfer. He participated in practice at Rutgers this spring and is set to sit out the 2014 season because of NCAA transfer rules.

He played in 11 games last season but said Rutgers offered a more pass-friendly offense. He completed 50.5 percent of his passes for 1,306 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions last season. He also rushed for 364 yards and six touchdowns while sharing quarterback duties with Mitch Leidner.

Rutgers said in a statement that it is in the process of gathering information about the incident. Nelson, who was Minnesota's Mr. Football at Mankato West High School, likely will be arraigned Monday or Tuesday.

Police are looking for a second suspect.

"It's an ongoing investigation, and as more information becomes available, we'll be releasing it," city spokeswoman Shelly Schulz said Sunday.

Information from's Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press is included in this report.
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