Philip Nelson, quarterback of the Rutgers University football team, has been charged with assault for allegedly kicking a man in the head during an altercation in Minnesota over the weekend that left the victim critically injured.
Nelson, 20, was charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault for reportedly striking 24-year-old Isaac Kolstad, a former linebacker at Minnesota State-Mankato, early Sunday, ESPN.com reported.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by TwinCities.com, Kolstad was already lying
on the ground after being struck by another unidentified man early Sunday morning when Nelson allegedly kicked him in the head.
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ESPN.com reported that witnesses said Nelson got mad by men attempting to pick up his girlfriend. Surveillance footage reportedly shows Kolstad moving away after hitting Nelson in the back. He was then attacked by the unidentified man. Authorities released the video in the hopes of identifying the man, who fled.
"Nelson pushes past others, approaches [Kolstad] and delivers at least one kick to the left side of [Kolstad's] head," the complaint reads. "Sergeant Knutson noted that the video clearly shows that [Kolstad] was defenseless as Nelson delivers the kick or kicks to the head."
Nelson appeared in court Monday. Afterwards, his lawyer told reporters that it was the unidentified man who "threw a debilitating blow to the victim." He added that Nelson "was not an aggressor in this situation."
Kolstad's father, Blaine, updated his son's condition Sunday night on the website caringbridge.org.
"He is currently in critical condition and fighting for his life," the elder Kolstad wrote. "He is young and strong, but the battle he has in front of him is enormous. He had one surgery today to put a pressure gauge in his skull. He may need additional surgeries in the coming days. 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, who was released on bail Monday, transferred to Rutgers in January after two seasons with University of Minnesota Gophers.
He must sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules, but has two years of eligibility left starting in 2015.
Minnesota's Mr. Football in 2011, Nelson spent the bulk of his time with the Gophers as a starter. He played 11 games last season, passing for 1,306 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions, and ran for 364 yards.
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