Injured ex-football player Kolstad back in Mankato

09/04/2014 7:51 PM

09/04/2014 7:51 PM

Former Minnesota State, Mankato football player Isaac Kolstad returned Thursday night to lead the Mavericks onto the field for the team's opener, nearly four months after he was gravely injured in a nightclub district attack.

Kolstad, 24, also was serving as honorary captain for the game against rival St. Cloud State.

Kolstad's survival was once in question after he was punched and then kicked in the head in May. But he is out of the hospital and undergoing rehabilitation in the Twin Cities. He has recovered to the point where he stopped by practice recently and did some drills for fun.

At a news conference before the game, Kolstad's wife, Molly Kolstad, said she is hopeful he will be home sometime this fall.

Molly Kolstad said her husband still has a lot of healing to do "but the next step is home," The Free Press of Mankato (http://bit.ly/1uo2lU7 ) reported.

"I am so grateful for what this team and what they have done for us," she said of the Mavericks football team. "Rehab feels like fall camp all over again."

Players planned to wear a (hashtag) 22Strong decal on their helmets in honor of Isaac Kolstad's former player number, and the team painted the number 22 on the 22-yard line at Blakeslee Stadium.

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

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