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
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)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 71 comments
May 5, 2013 5:13 AM CDT
It took me a while to figure out why there are so many fights and riots at soccer games, the sport is so damn boring, so they fight to break up the tedium. Unfortunately I think the ref did die.
May 5, 2013 4:52 AM CDT
ABC news last night was reporting the referee died. The guy who punched him is in deep doo-doo now.
May 4, 2013 12:54 PM CDT
This is clearly a deliberate handball. That'd be a second yellow under the circumstances, and as such, an automatic red.