Skip to main content

Former Gophers QB 'did not cause' attack victim's brain injury, doctor says

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A forensic expert has said that a kick delivered by former Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson probably did not cause the brain injury suffered by college footballer Isaac Kolstad following a fight in May.

A second opinion from a doctor hired by prosecutors in the case against Nelson has said that the injury inflicted on former Minnesota State-Mankato player Kolstad, which left him in a coma for weeks, is more likely to have been caused by a punch thrown by another defendant, Trevor Shelley, FOX 9 reports.

The analysis by Dr. Michael McGee will now form a major part of a motion from the defense to get charges against Nelson reduced, the news station says.

"My overall impression of this case is that the majority and possibly all of the injuries described in Mr. Kolstad are related to the initial punch to the street surface," McGee concluded, according to the Pioneer Press.

"While Mr. Nelson may be responsible for some of the above-described injuries, based on the information provided, I am unable to state to a medical certainty that this is the case."

Kolstad was injured following a fight in downtown Mankato on May 11, which is alleged to have started when Nelson mistook him for a bouncer who had flirted with his girlfriend earlier that night, the newspaper says.

During the altercation, Kolstad was punched and fell to the ground, hitting his head, after which Nelson is alleged to have kicked him in the head.

Kolstad, now 25, in December spoke out for the first time of his recovery from the attack, which left him in a coma and has since seen him require physical and speech therapy.

Nelson and Shelley have been charged with first and third degree assault, while Nelson was kicked off the Rutgers football team, to which he had transferred from the University of Minnesota, the Star Tribune notes.

The evidence from Dr. McGee follows a report by a doctor caused as a defense expert in August, which also concluded that the punch from Shelley is likely to have caused much of the injuries, the newspaper says.

Nelson's attorney, Jim Fleming, told the Mankato Free Press Dr. McGee's report should result in charges against the quarterback being reduced as soon as possible.

Next Up

zipper merge, construction

6 transportation projects in Minnesota get $100M federal funding

The projects extend to areas all across the state.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 9

The number of cases in the latest reporting period dropped compared to the previous week's update.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 11.27.17 AM

Takeaways from Minneapolis' new gun violence report

The rise in violent crime in Minneapolis is showing signs of plateauing.


Man, woman arrested after shots fired from BMW at 3 motorcyclists

The driver of the BMW led police on a chase, driving the wrong way on state highways.

Screen Shot 2022-08-10 at 2.02.48 PM

Drive Shack Inc. announces upcoming 'Puttery' venue in Minneapolis

The growing business backed by Rory McIlroy is coming to the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2022-08-08 at 7.13.33 AM

BCA: Man was 'running towards' deputy with knife before fatal shooting

The Minnesota BCA has identified the four deputies who fired weapons.

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

MN Gun Owners Caucus won't endorse gubernatorial candidate in 2022

The organization endorsed Scott Jensen for Minnesota Senate in 2016.

WCCO building

Man who threw gun on WCCO roof charged with murder, manslaughter

The man originally lied and claimed someone else shot the victim.

Semi into house near Sturgis, South Dakota

Semi drives into house near Sturgis, South Dakota

The force from the semi was so strong that the foundation of the house was moved.


18-year-old from Zumbrota dies in Goodhue County crash

The crash happened in rural Goodhue County around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.