Former Gopher QB charged in Mankato assault; released on bail


Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson has been charged with assaulting a former Minnesota State University, Mankato football player.

Officials announced in a news conference Monday that Nelson, 20, had been charged in Blue Earth District Court with first- and third-degree assault.

Police found the victim, 24-year-old Isaac Kolstad, early Sunday morning in downtown Mankato. He was listed in critical condition Monday, WCCO reports.

Authorities say Kolstad suffered head injuries including a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain, FOX 9 says. Kolstad's skull fracture is on the left side of his head, the same area where police say Nelson kicked him, according to the criminal complaint.

Nelson's parents looked on as he was led into court in handcuffs with his feet shackled, the Star Tribune reports.

He posted a $20,000 bond Monday evening and left the Blue Earth County jail with a towel over his head, KSTP reports.

In a post on his CaringBridge page, his family said he is fighting for his life. Kolstad had surgery on Sunday to put a pressure gauge in his skull and may need additional surgeries in the coming days.

The Kolstad family also issued a statement thanking well-wishers for the support they've offered over the last few days.

Doctors initially told police they weren't sure if Kolstad would survive, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint says Nelson had been upset that evening after a bouncer at a bar flirted with his girlfriend, kissing her on the hand. Things then deteriorated when he ran into Kolstad, who, according to the complaint, threw the initial punch.

Police are asking for the public's help to identify a second suspect in the incident. According to a release on the city's website, the man is in his 20s, and he was wearing a red t-shirt and jeans during the incident. He's seen here in a screen grab from a surveillance video.

The police are also looking for the the driver and passengers of a white vehicle that had stopped near the scene of the incident. Police are hoping to speak with them about what happened. Anyone with information about the assault is asked to call 911.

Kolstad, who is newly married and has a daughter, was a safety on the North Dakota State football team in 2008 and 2009 before transferring to MSU. He played on the Mavericks football team for three seasons, and graduated in December 2013 with a B.S. in management from the school’s College of Business, according to the Pioneer Press.

Both Kolstad and Nelson are from Mankato. Nelson played high school football at Mankato West, while Kolstad played at Mankato East, according to reports. It’s unclear if the two knew each other, the Star Tribune says.

In January, Nelson announced that he was transferring to Rutgers University after playing two seasons with the Gophers. Nelson started 16 games with Minnesota, throwing for 2,179 yards and 17 touchdowns, while rushing for 548 yards and another six touchdowns.

The Gophers declined to comment on the incident and Rutgers issued a statement saying it is in the process of gathering information about the incident, ESPN reports.


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