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Austin Sikorski

UMD football player wounded in stabbing is released from hospital

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UMD football player wounded in stabbing is released from hospital
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DULUTH, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Duluth football player who was stabbed in an altercation in downtown Duluth last weekend has been released from the hospital.

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Austin Sikorski, 22, a senior running back for the Bulldogs, was released from St. Luke’s hospital Wednesday and issued a statement through the university on Thursday — the same day he was announced as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division Preseason Offensive Play of the Year.

“I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the UMD athletics staff, my teammates, family, friends and hospital staff, and to all of those who have shown their support in so many ways,” he said in the statement. “I have been released from the hospital and look forward to furthering my recovery, getting back to full strength and turning my focus to the upcoming semester.”

Sikorski reported in a Facebook post late Wednesday that he walked out of the hospital on his own power.

UMD football coach Curt Wiese said Sikorski is resting at home in Stevens Point, Wis., and continues to heal.

“His mood’s been great,” Wiese said. “He’s had a positive attitude through all of this. Austin’s done a really good job fighting for his recovery. He was excited to get out of the hospital and return back home.”

Sikorski’s return to the playing field is uncertain, but Wiese said he’d be returning to campus for the team’s fall camp at some point.

“We don’t have a really good gauge on Austin’s return,” he said. “At this point, his focus is on getting better physically and resting over the next couple weeks.”

Duluth police said that Sikorski was admitted to St. Luke’s hospital after officers responded to a fight just before 2 a.m. Saturday. He was stabbed in the lower abdomen.

A male suspect was identified as “a person of interest,” authorities said Sunday, but no arrests had yet been made, and police had provided no further updates on the case as of Thursday.

Sikorski, from Plover, Wis., was the leading rusher for the Bulldogs last season and last month was named a USA College Football Division II Preseason All-American going into his senior season. On Thursday, it was revealed that conference coaches had selected Sikorski as the NSIC North Division’s top offensive player in an annual preseason poll, the first Bulldog to earn the honor since 2011.

The UMD football team is scheduled to play its first game of the season on Sept. 6.

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