Rutgers quarterback Phillip Nelson has been charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault for his role in the assault of former Minnesota State University linebacker Isaac Kolstad, according to ESPN.
Kolstad is currently fighting for his life after the attack, which took place on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and is facing permanent brain damage if he pulls through, according to his father.
“He is currently in critical condition and fighting for his life,” Blaine Kolstad wrote on caringbridge.org. “He is young and strong, but the battle he has in front of him is enormous. … We do know that his brain did sustain permanent damage. We do not yet know to what extent and won’t for many days. He is very sick. Please pray for Isaac and all of those involved.”
Nelson was arrested at the scene of the attack and jailed Sunday morning on suspicion of assault.
"Nelson was upset because a bouncer at a bar in downtown Mankato flirted with his girlfriend, who said Nelson is very protective of her. Nelson's girlfriend said they left the bar and encountered Kolstad outside around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Nelson and Kolstad had a "heated" verbal exchange and were separated, according to witnesses. A police officer that viewed surveillance footage reported that Kolstad threw a punch that hit Nelson in the back, which forced Nelson to fall to the ground.
Kolstad began to move away and an unknown male ran after him. The unknown male delivered a punch to Kolstad's head/face. Kolstad immediately went limp and collapsed to the pavement.
Nelson's girlfriend was observed trying to hold him back, but he pushed past and approached Kolstad. Nelson then delivered at least one kick to the left side of Kolstad's head. The police officer said the video clearly shows that Kolstad was defenseless as Nelson delivered the kick(s)."
Kolstad has a three-year-old daughter and his wife is pregnant.
He suffered severe injuries consisting of bleeding of the brain, skull fracture, brain swelling, brain shifting, and deterioration of lungs from lack of oxygen. Kolstad's skull fracture was on the left side of his head, which is the same area Nelson kicked him.
Nelson started nine games for the Minnesota Golden Gophers last season but transferred to Rutgers after last season. He was set to miss out this year due to NCAA rules but now could be facing 20 years in prison for causing "great bodily harm" if found guilty.