Utah soccer referee in coma from player's punch

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Doctors say a Utah soccer referee remains in a coma after being punched by a teenage player unhappy with one of his calls, and his family says their only hope is for a miracle.

The 46-year-old man remained in critical condition Thursday at Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. Doctors say they're trying to control swelling in his brain and that his recovery is uncertain.

Police say a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league punched the referee, Riccardo Portillo, once on the side of his head Saturday after the man flagged him for a foul. The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault.

Portillo's oldest daughter says it wasn't the first time a soccer player assaulted her father. Johana Portillo says the referee has had ribs and legs broken by players angry with his calls.


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