Utah soccer ref dies after being punched by teenaged goalie

Jose Lopez, points to a undated photo of Riccardo Portillo, center, his brother-in-law, following a news conference Thursday, May 2, 2013, at Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray, Utah. A longtime Utah soccer referee is in a coma after being punched by a teenage player unhappy with one of his calls during a weekend game, and his family says they're hoping for the man's miraculous recovery and want justice for him. Ricardo Portillo, 46, has swelling in his brain and his recovery is uncertain as he remains in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. Police say a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league punched Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card. The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Those charges could be amplified if Portillo dies. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Jose Lopez, points to a undated photo of Riccardo Portillo, center, his brother-in-law, following a news conference Thursday, May 2, 2013, at Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, via Deadspin)

Richard Portillo, at 46 years old, has died one week after being punched in the head by a teenaged goalie. Portillo issued the 17-year old a yellow card for shoving an opposing player. At that point, the player (who as a minor will not be named in the case) punched Portillo in the head. This all occurred  on a Utah playing field on April 27.

The referee then slipped into a coma, suffered massive swelling of the brain and tragically passed away on Saturday night, May 4.

KTUL, via the Associated Press:

The teenager was playing goalie during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville when Ricardo Portillo issued him a yellow card for pushing an opposing forward trying to score a goal. In soccer, a yellow card is given as a warning to a player for an egregious violation of the rules. Two yellow cards lead to a red card and expulsion from the game.

The teenager, quite a bit heavier than Portillo, began arguing with the referee, then unleashed a punch to his face. Portillo seemed fine at first, then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance.

According to authorities, the minor was already under lock and key on charges of aggravated assault. However, now that Portillo has passed, those charges may be re-evaluated and may be amplified.

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