- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Former Minnesota State, Mankato football player Isaac Kolstad is responding to his neurosurgeon’s verbal commands for the first time since being beaten more than three weeks ago, Kolstad’s family said Tuesday.

Kolstad’s brother-in-law, Mike Fleming, detailed the critically injured former linebacker’s progress on a CaringBridge website, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1l3wy7s) reported.

“What we have been waiting and hoping for are movements with purpose completed on command,” Fleming posted. “The physicians have told us that if Isaac is able to follow a command, he will be in the best place for a possible recovery.”

Kolstad, 24, twice responded to his neurosurgeon’s verbal commands to give a thumbs-up, Fleming wrote.

“The neurosurgeon asked him to squeeze his hand. His fingers moved, but was it really a squeeze? He wasn’t sure. ‘Isaac, give me a thumbs-up!’ he yelled,” Fleming wrote. “And there went Isaac’s left thumb in the air.”

After an uncertain response to a second command to squeeze the doctor’s hand, Fleming posted, the neurosurgeon again told Kolstad, “‘Give me a thumbs-up, Isaac!’ and there went that left thumb straight up in the air!”

Fleming said the doctor “was certain” that Kolstad was following the commands for a thumbs-up.

Kolstad suffered a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury after he was attacked May 11 in downtown Mankato. He remains in critical condition.

Prosecutors have charged former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson, of Mankato, and Trevor Shelley, of St. Peter, with assaulting Kolstad.

Kolstad has a 3-year-old daughter and his wife is pregnant.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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