The family of former Minnesota State University, Mankato football player Isaac Kolstad announced a breakthrough in their latest update on his CaringBridge site on Tuesday morning.
Mike Fleming, who is Kolstad's brother-in-law, wrote that Kolstad was well-rested and off both pain and sedating medications when his neurosurgeon arrived for morning rounds.
"What we have been waiting and hoping for are movements with purpose completed on command," Fleming wrote. "The physicians have told us that if Isaac is able to follow a command, he will be in the best place for a possible recovery." He also said Kolstad responded when his doctor asked a for a thumbs-up.
“There went that left thumb straight up in the air! His neurosurgeon was certain that Isaac followed the command and he gave us a thumbs up when asked. Our strong guy has impressed his physicians once again," Fleming wrote.
He went on to thank the well-wishers who have supported the 24-year-old.
"Constant prayers have kept Isaac strong and have assisted him in his recovery. It seems after the benefits that have occurred, Isaac has made the most improvement. Isaac, keep it going, be patient, and keep up the good work! Stay #22strong."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that about 700 well-wishers attended a fundraiser at the MSU Fieldhouse to generate funds for Kolstad's young family. The event raised about $13,000. The YouCaring.com webpage set up to assist the young family has raised just over $69,000 as of Tuesday morning. Kolstad's wife Molly is due to give birth to the couple's second daughter this month.
KARE reported that the Sunday evening event was planned by Kolstad's aunts and the MSU football staff.
"A lot of times people hear about the evils of the world, but the outpouring is just helping him better," said Mary Wright, Kolstad's aunt who led the fundraiser planning. "We want everybody to know we still need your thoughts and your prayers, and with that powerful thing, things will be better."
Kolstad suffered a brutal beating outside a Mankato bar last month. Prosecutors have charged former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson, 20, of Mankato and Trevor Shelley, 21, of St. Peter with assaulting Kolstad.
A post from Kolstad's father Blaine on Monday said the swelling in Kolstad's brain has continued to lessen. He is opening his eyes and responding to touch from his medical team, but his response is limited: "He kicks, pushes, and pulls mostly with his left side. The right leg has not moved and the right arm moves seldom."
Blaine Kolstad said that the family plays music or sports in his room at the Mayo Health System facility in Mankato to try to comfort him when he seems to be in pain.