Family confirms Isaac Kolstad in medical coma, on life support - KMSP-TV

Family confirms Isaac Kolstad in medical coma, on life support

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One week after a brutal assault in a Mankato street, the family of former Minnesota State University-Mankato linebacker Isaac Kolstad is opening up about the extent of the injuries he suffered.

The 24-year-old father has been in critical condition since he was punched and kicked in the head after an argument turned violent. Although it was known that his injuries were considered grave, Kolstad's family has now revealed that Kolstad is in a medically-induced coma following an emergency brain surgery.

Kolstad also had a tracheotomy to help manage his breathing while life support machines help him continue his struggle for survival.

"It's tough to process something like that," said Sam Thompson. "You just try to focus on him."

Thompson, a friend and former teammate, was with Kolstad as the fight unfolded at bar time on graduation weekend. Ever since, he's visited Kolstad in the hospital daily and is trying to support the family in any way he can.

"The thoughts and prayers from everyone around who are thinking about his family -- miracles are happening as we speak," he said.

This weekend, the Kolstad family provided new details on the long and challenging road the father of a young daughter with another on the way will face. On the CaringBridge website chronicling Kolstad's progress, loved ones explained that he underwent emergency brain surgery on Tuesday and doctors removed a "significant amount of brain tissue that was no longer viable."

Although the procedure was successful, there is still significant swelling in Kolstad's brain.


Former starting quarterback for the Gophers and hometown Mankato football hero Philip Nelson and 21-year-old Trevor Shelley are facing an identical pair of felony assault charges, but both are now free on bail.

Shelley is accused of throwing a sucker punch that knocked Kolstad out cold, and Nelson is accused of kicking Kolstad in the head while he was on the ground.


While the criminal cases work their way through the justice system, the community is rallying to support Kolstad and his young family. His wife is due to give birth to the couple's second daughter at the end of the month.

An online fundraising site has now amassed more than $41,000 for the family, and just this weekend, the Maverick's football team visited Kolstad's church in North Mankato and raised $3,500 in a single day simply by sharing his story with the congregation.

"It was emotional for everyone who talked," Thompson said. "I had a chance to talk. People connected with that. People could understand the pain for us and them as well -- that's why people are willing to give."


The Kolstad family released the following statement on Saturday:

Isaac remains in critical condition at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

Due to the injuries Isaac sustained early last Sunday morning, his brain had severe bruising and swelling, increasing the pressure within his skull to life-threatening levels. In order to relieve the swelling, he required emergency surgery on his brain early Tuesday morning. Isaac had a significant amount of his brain tissue that was no longer viable removed during that procedure.

Even though the surgery was successful, the swelling in Isaac's brain remains significant; leaving him at high risk for further injury and potentially additional surgical procedures. Isaac's lungs also sustained severe injury, resulting in the inability to breathe on his own. He also sustained a lack of oxygen to his brain.

Isaac continues to be in a medically induced coma, utilizing life support to keep him breathing. Yesterday, Friday, May 16, Isaac underwent his second major surgery, a Tracheotomy operation. This helps manage his breathing while on life support.

Isaac's care team of neurosurgeons, physicians, nurses, therapists and others are doing everything they possibly can each day to keep Isaac alive and fighting. We are blessed to have Mayo Clinic care so close to home for Isaac. There is no doubt in our minds he is receiving the very best care available.

We want to thank everyone for their support and ongoing efforts to help our family. We cannot begin to express our gratitude. As Mankato natives, we are so proud of our community and are incredibly inspired by the things going on around us. Your continued prayers and encouragement are needed and greatly appreciated.

We would ask members of the news media and others to continue to respect our request and need for privacy at this time. We have requested that no further information (beyond his medical condition) be released. Thank you for your understanding and continued thoughts and prayers for Isaac, our family and all others who are involved in this situation.


The Kolstad Family

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