Former Gophers QB Nelson pleads guilty in Kolstad assault, avoids prison time


Former University of Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson pleaded guilty to an assault charge in connection to the fight that left Isaac Kolstad with a severe brain injury.

With family and friends in the courtroom, Nelson pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, Wednesday, taking responsibility for his actions outside a downtown Mankato bar last May. As a result of the plea agreement, the felony charges against him were dropped.

Sentencing has been set for Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m., WCCO reports. He faces up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The judge also lifted an order that Nelson couldn't speak to witnesses in the case, some of whom are his friends, the Star Tribune says.

The former quarterback can be seen on surveillance video apparently kicking Kolstad in the head, but doctors say Nelson's kick didn’t cause Kolstad’s injuries. Trevor Shelley has also been charged with assault in this case.

Nelson didn't speak to reporters following Wednesday's hearing, but Nelson did release a statement Tuesday, saying he doesn’t remember the night of the fight after he was hit in the head (his lawyer says he suffered a concussion, which he’s being treated for). Nelson apologized to those involved and wished Kolstad the best in his recovery.

Kolstad, a former football player for Minnesota State University, Mankato, continues to make encouraging strides in his recovery. According to a post on his CaringBridge page earlier this month, he has become more independent and is now able to do more than one task simultaneously – like showering while standing on his own.

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