VIRGINIA BEACH -- The family of a former college basketball star says he was brutally attacked at an Oceanfront bar.

35-year old Jason Nickerson was beaten in front of Vanity Night Club and Bistro on Atlantic Avenue, last Friday.

Nickerson required 21 staples in his head and will undergo reconstructive surgery Thursday on his face.

Detectives are interviewing numerous witnesses.

Nickerson is a former Old Dominion University and Virginia Wesleyan basketball star. Standing six feet, five inches tall and weighing about 300 pounds, his mother never imagined anyone would attack her son.

'If they do this to Jason, a big guy like him, they could have killed someone else that was smaller,' said Janice Nickerson. 'We need justice.'

Nickerson says her son was drinking with friends.

Some witnesses told police it was a bar fight and that someone punched Nickerson in self defense. But his mother says she's hearing otherwise.

'The doctors say he was hit from behind with an object,' said Nickerson.

Police tell 13News if it was a bar fight, those involved won't face harsh punishments, but if it's determined to be an attack, felony charges could be filed.

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