No more jail time for former Gophers QB; Kolstad speaks at sentencing


Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson won't serve any more time in jail after pleading guilty to an assault charge in connection to the fight that left Isaac Kolstad with a severe brain injury.

Blue Earth County District Court Judge Bradley Walker sentenced Nelson Monday to 100 hours of community service (including 15 hours speaking to youth groups about how life can change in an instant), two days in jail (which he has already served) and a $300 fine, the Mankato Free Press reports.

Nelson also must complete six hours of a chemical awareness program, KSTP says.

The maximum sentence for the charge was 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ken White, the Kolstad family's attorney, said they were extremely disappointed in the sentence, and the family plans to bring a civil lawsuit against Nelson, Trevor Shelley, who was also charged in the fight, and the two bars they drank at the night of the fight, KEYC reports.

Kolstad: My life has changed forever

The courtroom was packed with both Nelson and Kolstad supporters, some wearing "22 strong" shirts, the hashtag people used on social media to show their support for Kolstad during his recovery, Star Tribune reporter Matt McKinney tweeted.

"In a police statement, Philip Nelson said my life wouldn't be changed. But it has, it's changed forever," Kolstad told the judge in a victim impact statement Monday, the Mankato Free Press notes.

"The actions of that night turned our lives upside down, not just temporarily, but forever," Molly Kolstad said at the hearing, according to the Mankato Free Press.

Nelson also spoke. He apologized and said a day doesn't go by where he doesn't think about the night of the fight, the Star Tribune says.

Kolstad, a former football player for Minnesota State University, Mankato, continues to make encouraging strides in his recovery. According to his CaringBridge page, he has become more independent in everyday life.

The charges

Nelson pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in January. As a result of the plea agreement, the felony charges against him were dropped.

Nelson admitted to the lesser charge after doctors said Nelson's kick to Kolstad's head, which could be seen on surveillance videodid not cause Kolstad’s injuries. Trevor Shelley has also been charged with assault in this case. His next hearing is scheduled for April 7, the Mankato Free Press notes.

Nelson has said he doesn't remember the night of the fight after he was hit in the head and he has apologized to those involved, including wishing Kolstad the best in his recovery.

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