In a tragic turn of events, a soccer referee has died after slipping into a coma as a result of being punched by a teenage player. Ricardo Portillo of Salt Lake City passed away on Saturday night at a hospital in Utah where he was being treated following the assault which happened last weekend. The 17-year-old player cold clocked Ricardo in a rec league soccer game following receiving a yellow card he believed he didn’t deserve.
According to the AP:
Accounts from a police report, Portillo’s daughter and others offer more details about what occurred.
The teenager was playing goalie during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville when 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.
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.
When police arrived around noon, the teenager was gone and Portillo was laying on the ground in the fetal position. Through translators, Portillo told EMTs that his face and back hurt and he felt nauseous. He had no visible injuries and remained conscious. He was considered to be in fair condition when they took him to the Intermountain Medical Center.
But when Portillo arrived to the hospital, he slipped into a coma with swelling in his brain. Johana Portillo called detectives to let them know his condition had worsened.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all touched by this tragedy.