Soccer Ref in Coma After Being Punched by Teen

Ricardo Portillo had just called a foul

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 3, 2013 3:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – A soccer referee in Utah is in a coma after being punched by a teenager during a weekend game. Police say a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league punched 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo on Saturday after Portillo called a foul and issued him a yellow card. Portillo remains in critical condition with swelling in his brain, and his recovery remains uncertain.

"People don't know it's a game," says one of his daughters. "We're all there to have fun, not to go and kill each other." She said detectives and witnesses told her that the player hit her father in the head after the foul. "He just came out of nowhere and punched him." The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Those charges could be amplified if Portillo dies.

Johana Portillo, center, and her sister Ana Portillo hold hands while Dr. Shawn Smith looks on during a news conference, May 2, 2013, at Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray, Utah.   (Rick Bowmer)
Johana Portillo, left, and her sister Ana Portillo, daughters of Riccardo Portillo, hold hands during a news conference.   (Rick Bowmer)
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