Rutgers QB Philip Nelson charged with assault

Rutgers quarterback Philip Nelson was charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault Monday for his alleged role in an altercation that left one man gravely injured.

Isaac Kolstad, the victim of the assault allegedly committed by Nelson, has sustained permanent brain damage and is "fighting for his life," according to Kolstad's father, Blaine. Isaac Kolstad, a former Minnesota State linebacker, was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minn., after police officers found him unconscious at the scene of the alleged assault around 2 a.m. Sunday in the town's entertainment district.

"(Isaac Kolstad) is currently in critical condition and fighting for his life," Blaine Kolstad posted Sunday on the website 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."

A neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic said Isaac Kolstad suffered from "a severe head injury and a severe pulmonary injury," and he was not sure Kolstad would survive, according to a report in The Star Tribune.

Blaine Kolstad also wrote that his son had surgery to put a pressure gauge in his skull.

Nelson appeared in court Monday and was released on $20,000 bail. He faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly kicking Kolstad in the head, although the criminal complaint reveals conflicting accounts of what happened.

Nelson's attorney, Jim Fleming, told the judge Monday that Nelson "was not the aggressor in this situation," saying it was another man who rendered Isaac Kolstad unconscious, according to The Star Tribune report.

Police released video from the city's surveillance cameras and are seeking the public's help in identifying the man, seen in the video wearing a red shirt and throwing the punch that is alleged to have knocked Kolstad out cold, the report said.

Nelson started nine games for Minnesota last season, but has since transferred to Rutgers. He participated in the Scarlet Knights' spring practice but is not eligible to play this fall under NCAA transfer rules.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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