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Remarkable recovery: Isaac Kolstad stays positive on road back from brain injury


Isaac Kolstad, a former college football player at Minnesota State-Mankato, continues to make a remarkable recovery from a near fatal beating last spring.

For the first time since the confrontation in May that put him into a weeks-long coma, Kolstad is speaking publicly this week about how his life has changed since then.

Kolstad, who turned 25 on Wednesday, along with his wife Molly, spoke with several media outlets in interviews arranged by his attorney, according to the Star Tribune.

The paper said the attorney did not allow any questions about civil suits, the fight that landed Kolstad in the hospital or the ongoing criminal case against the two men who are charged with the assault.

Kolstad suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the fight, and weeks went by with his doctors not sure whether he would survive.

Now, he's a different man. He is walking and talking, although his speech is still slow. The Kolstads and their two young daughters recently moved back to their home in Mankato after spending the last seven months in the Twin Cities to be closer to Isaac's medical providers, according to Kolstad's Caring Bridge site.

“When I got hurt, I was like, ‘Why did this happen to me?'” Kolstad told WCCO. “But then I [thought] ‘Okay, I need to make the best of this,’ and I work harder every day.”

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Most of his time is taken up with physical and speech therapy, which includes trips to the Twin Cities three days a week.

“I can feel myself getting better through therapy. That is my favorite part,” said Kolstad, according to the Star Tribune.

His wife Molly said she is grateful to be able to celebrate Isaac's birthday, since there was a time when it wasn't clear whether he would have another one.

“Isaac Kolstad is a beautiful person,” she said, according to WCCO. “He’s an amazing father, a wonderful husband, he’s the sweetest person I know.”

She said she can see improvements in Isaac every day, and he has regained his sense of humor.

Kolstad said he always tries to be positive. “I can’t afford to be negative,” he said to WCCO.

Kolstad remains a huge fan of his former team, the MSU Mankato Mavericks, who will play in the NCAA Division II national championship game Saturday against Colorado State-Pueblo, and he plans to be in Kansas City, Kansas, with his father to watch the game. As you might expect, he predicted the Mavericks would win 24-17.

Phillip Nelson, former quarterback for the Minnesota Gophers, and Trevor Shelley, are charged with felony assault for injuring Kolstad. Trial dates have not yet been set.

Surveillance video was released last week which shows the altercation between Kolstad and the two men, which seems to show Kolstad as the one who started the fight.

The Star Tribune has more details on what witnesses said to police about how the fight began.

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