Referee punched by teenage player dies

A RECREATIONAL league soccer referee, who was critically injured and in a coma after being punched by a teenage player during a game, has died, US police said.

Ricardo Portillo, 46, died on Saturday night at the hospital where he was being treated following an assault during a soccer game last weekend, police spokesman Justin Hoyal said.

Police have accused a 17-year-old player of punching Mr Portillo after the referee issued him with a yellow card.

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

The teenager has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Mr Hoyal said authorities would now consider additional charges after Mr Portillo’s death.

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

The victim’s family, which publicly spoke of Mr Portillo’s plight in the last week, has asked for privacy as they deal with his loss.

Last week, Johana Portillo, 26, spoke about her father’s condition. She said that she was not at the April 27 game, but she said she has been told by witnesses and detectives that the player hit her father in the side of the head after he issued the yellow card.

“When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him,” she said. His friends who were there told her Mr Portillo seemed fine at first, but then felt dizzy. He started vomiting blood and an ambulance was called.