Friday brought more benchmarks in the recovery of Isaac Kolstad. The Mankato man underwent successful skull surgery and, with assistance, also stood for the first time since an attack critically injured him a month ago, according to his family.
Kolstad, 24, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a May 11 fight in downtown Mankato. He remained in critical condition Friday night.
Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson of Mankato and Trevor Shelley of St. Peter are charged in the assault.
Kolstad, a former football player for Minnesota State University, Mankato, had a flap of his bone replaced in his skull Friday morning at the Mayo Clinic Health System.
“All went as planned and he is currently recovering,” his brother-in-law, Mike Fleming, said Friday evening on the CaringBridge website where his family is posting updates. “He is in a lot of pain, but his care team is working very closely with him to get him comfortable.”
The flap, removed during surgery on May 13 to allow brain swelling, had been sewn inside his abdominal wall for sterile preservation while the swelling subsided, the website says.
Also this week family “got a glimpse of the activities Isaac will be participating in when he is moved to a rehab facility,” Fleming wrote.
Speech therapists placed a speaking valve on Kolstad’s trachea, and he’s being encouraged to talk, according to Fleming.
“The return of speech will certainly take time, but if he wanted to say something, he could,” Fleming wrote Friday.
Physical therapists this week had Isaac sitting on the edge of the bed with help, and he worked this week on holding up his head and torso. It appeared to therapists that he wanted to get off the bed. Kolstad stood with assistance three times.
“He even followed direction from the therapists and stood taller when asked, bearing weight on his legs for the first time in over four weeks,” Fleming wrote.
In an alleged attack around bar-closing time, Shelley, 21, punched Kolstad, knocking him out. Nelson, 20, kicked Kolstad in the head as he lay on the pavement.
Kolstad and his wife, Molly, are parents of two girls, one aged 3 and the other born June 5 in the same hospital where Kolstad is recovering.