Philip Nelson was upset over girlfriend when he delivered possibly fatal head kick, charges say
Kolstad (left), a 24-year-old father with a pregnant wife, isn't likely to recover from injuries he suffered during an altercation that ended with Nelson (right) allegedly kicking him in the head.
Former Gophers starting quarterback Philip Nelson has been charged with first- and third-degree assault for allegedly booting former Minnesota State University linebacker Isaac Kolstad in the head early yesterday morning. (Read the full backstory here.)
The incident partially involved a case of mistaken identity, the charges say. Nelson, 20, was upset because earlier in the night, a bouncer at Mankato's Blue Bricks Bar and Eatery flirted with his girlfriend. Later in the night, for reasons that aren't explained in the charging document, Nelson and Kolstad started arguing near a downtown bus shelter. When one of Kolstad's friends pulled Nelson aside in hopes of deescalating the situation, Kolstad approached and struck Nelson in the back, knocking him down. That prompted an as-of-yet-unidentified man in a red shirt to punch Kolstad, knocking him out cold and causing his head to bounce off the pavement. Nelson then moved in and delivered one or two kicks to Kolstad's head.
Nelson later told police he thought Kolstad was the bouncer who had kissed his girlfriend on her hand at Blue Bricks, which wasn't in fact the case. (Nelson's girlfriend told police he's very protective of her.)
Nelson said neither he nor his girlfriend have any idea who the man in red is. During a news conference this afternoon, authorities announced they're still looking for him. (Mankato authorities uploaded a bunch of security stills and a couple videos of the second suspect on the city's website -- click here to view them.)
Officers say Nelson had bloodshot eyes and smelled like alcohol, and that his girlfriend, who is also underage, had been drinking too.
Yesterday evening, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic told a Mankato officer that Kolstad has a severe head injury and a severe pulmonary injury. Specifically, he suffered bleeding on the brain, a skull fracture, brain swelling, brain shifting, and deterioration of the lungs from lack of oxygen. The doctor said he's not sure Kolstad will survive his injuries, and even if he does, he's doubtful he'll make a good recovery.
The doctor said Kolstad's skull fracture is on the left side of his head, which is the area where Nelson kicked him.
To read the charges for yourself, click to page two.
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