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Soccer Ref Punched into Coma by Teen Player

Lifesize/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- A Utah soccer referee is in a coma after he was punched in the face by a teenage player during a game after a call he made against the rec league player.

Riccardo Portillo, 46, remains in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray, Utah, according to a hospital official. Lt. Justin Hoyle with the Salt Lake Unified Police Department said that Portillo was a ref at the game at Eisenhower Junior High, in Taylorsville, Utah, on Saturday when he flagged the teen for a foul.

“He made a call against a player that he was unhappy with, and gave him a yellow card, so the 17-year-old turned and punched him in face,” Hoyle told

Portillo was transported to the hospital with what were first believed to be minor injuries. He soon went into a coma, Hoyle said. Today he is still in critical condition, and doctors are trying to control the swelling of his brain, Jess Gomez with Intermountain Medical Center told

The teen who allegedly struck Portillo has not been named by police. Hoyle said the teen was tracked down on Monday and bought to Salt Lake Valley Detention Center, where he remained Friday.

Doctors at the hospital held a press conference with reporters this week. ”I think that we have a good idea what’s going on with him.  We’re just really limited on what we can talk about,” said Dr. Shawn Smith.

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