Soccer ref punched by teenage player dies

Soccer ref punched by teenage player dies

A 46-year-old soccer referee who was punched by a teenage player during a game and later slipped into a coma has died, police said.

Ricardo Portillo of Salt Lake City passed away at the hospital, where he was being treated following the assault last weekend, Unified police spokesman Justin Hoyal said Saturday night.

Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card.

“The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call,” Hoyal said in a press release.

The teen, whose name hasn’t been released because of his age, has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault.

Hoyal said authorities will consider additional charges since Portillo has died.

He said an autopsy is planned. No cause of death was released.

Portillo suffered swelling in his brain and had been listed in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.

The victim’s family, which publicly spoke of Portillo’s plight this past week, has asked for privacy, Hoyal said.

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