Assault victim Kolstad on life support, family says

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The family of Isaac Kolstad, the husband, father and former Mankato football player who was assaulted by two men last weekend, released more detailed information about his condition Saturday afternoon, KARE 11 reports.

The statement said Kolstad required emergency surgery Tuesday to relieve brain swelling. It says doctors removed a significant amount of brain tissue that was no longer viable. And it says his lungs sustained severe injury, leaving him unable to breathe on his own.

Here is the full statement, which was released by the hospital:

Isaac remains in critical condition at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

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.

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.

Isaac's care team of neurosurgeons, physicians, nurses, therapists and others are doing everything they possibly can each day to keep Isaac alive and fighting. We are blessed to have Mayo Clinic care so close to home for Isaac. There is no doubt in our minds he is receiving the very best care available.

We want to thank everyone for their support and ongoing efforts to help our family. We cannot begin to express our gratitude. As Mankato natives, we are so proud of our community and are incredibly inspired by the things going on around us. Your continued prayers and encouragement are needed and greatly appreciated.

We would ask members of the news media and others to continue to respect our request and need for privacy at this time. We have requested that no further information (beyond his medical condition) be released. Thank you for your understanding and continued thoughts and prayers for Isaac, our family and all others who are involved in this situation.

#22strong

The Kolstad Family

Kolstad, 24, was found unconscious and suffering from head trauma outside of a bar in downtown Mankato early Sunday morning. Former Gophers' quarterback Philip Nelson, 20, was arrested shortly afterwards and charged in the assault. 21-year-old Trevor Shelley of St. Peter was also charged.

According to the criminal complaint, Kolstad and Nelson got into an argument after leaving a Mankato bar. Police said that video surveillance show Kolstad striking Nelson in the back, then shows Shelley punching Kolstad and knocking him to the ground. Police said Nelson then kicked Kolstad in the head as he was on the ground.

KARE reports Kolstad's family is asking that people to continue to keep Isaac in their thoughts. As of midday on Saturday, the family had raised almost $40,000 for the Kolstad family via their #22STRONG page on the YouCaring.com website. The fund was set up by the brother of Kolstad's wife Molly, who is pregnant with their second child.

KEYC reported that Kolstad's co-workers at Fastenal in Mankato are holding a benefit meal and silent auction next week to raise funds for the family. The benefit is Thursday, May 22.

A column in the Mankato Free Press noted that Nelson and Kolstad had much in common before they crossed paths on the street in their mutual hometown.

"Kolstad and Nelson were both good kids, shining examples to youngsters at Mankato East and Mankato West, and were becoming adults who would reap the benefits of talent and hard work," wrote columnist Chad Courrier. "Now, Kolstad is fighting for his life, and Nelson for his freedom, the result of a few seconds of confrontation that appears to be a tragic mix of alcohol, testosterone and bad timing."

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