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Isaac Kolstad Showing Strength in Improvements

Updated: 06/08/2014 6:22 PM
Created: 06/08/2014 2:45 PM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart

Signs of strength are not in short supply from Isaac Kolstad, a former college football player who was critically injured during a fight in Mankato.

A month ago, Kolstad arrived at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato with skull fracture on the left side of his head after allegedly being kicked in the head during the fight on May 11. He was also suffering from bleeding of his brain, brain swelling and shifting, along with deterioration of his lungs from a lack of oxygen, doctors told investigators.

But after a FaceTime session with his wife Friday, Kolstad's athleticism was apparent, according Mike Flemming, Kolstad's brother-in-law.

"He tracked his eyes and looked at her while she talked, then he reached up and grabbed the phone and pulled it in," Flemming wrote on Kolstad's CaringBridge site. "It took two people to get his grip off when Molly had to say good night."

Kolstad's wife had given birth to the couple's second daughter Wednesday at the same hospital.

While he shows signs of being uncomfortable, Kolstad is making progress towards coming off medications, Flemming said. He tolerated being off one of his stronger medications Saturday.

Being off sedatives has allowed him to move more, Flemming wrote. Kolstad was scratching at stitches on his eyes, nose and cheek over the weekend.

But being bedridden can have adverse effects for a former athlete. Kolstad was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis last week, according to his CaringBridge site. The diagnosis means a blood clot has formed in one or more of the deep veins in his body, putting him at risk for a pulmonary embolism, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can happen when people are still for a long amount of time.

An ultrasound showed the condition started spreading upwards, Flemming wrote Saturday. Treatments on Kolstad so far have been unsuccessful and surgeries to replace the bone flap in his skull will have to be put off for some time.

Flemming said the next step for Kolstad is to start rehabilitation at a traumatic brain injury (TBI) facility. Doctors told Kolstad's family they anticipate positive results from the therapy.

Police arrested 20-year-old Philip Nelson, a former University of Minnesota quarterback from Mankato, early in the morning on May 11, just after the assault. Nelson has been accused of kicking Kolstad in the head. He is facing two felony assault charges.

Police also arrested 21-year-old Trevor Shelley, after witnesses came forward with information. Shelley is accused of delivering a punch to Kolstad that knocked him to the ground before he was allegedly kicked.


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