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www.wmfd.com - A referee for a recreational soccer league who was in a coma after being punched in the face by a player has died. }}" />

Attacked Soccer Referee In Coma Has Died

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 5/7/2013 A referee for a recreational soccer league who was in a coma after being punched in the face by a player has died. Stephanie Elam has the details. At a vigil Sunday evening in Salt Lake City, Utah, members of the community came together to remember a dedicated family man. "He took a part of me with him, he took my daddy away from me," says Joana Portillo, Ricardo Portillo's daughter. Police say soccer referee Ricardo Portillo probably never say the blow coming. The blow that would ultimately end his life. "I am in shock. Because, besides a ref, he's a friend of mine," says Mario Vazquez, Soccer League President. It happened during an April 27 match for a recreational soccer league just outside Salt Lake City, after Portillo called a foul on a 17-year-old goalie. "The goalie pushed one of the forwards from the back," says Vazquez. The goalie retaliated by punching the 46-year-old referee in the head. "When he was writing down his notes, he just came and punched him," said Johana Portillo, Ricardo Portillo's daughter. Ricardo Portillo was taken to the hospital with what was believed to be a minor injury, but doctors found he had suffered serious internal head injuires, police said, and lapsed into a coma. After a week in that condition, he died Saturday night. Johana Portillo, the referee's eldest daughter, had spoken with CNN's jake Tapper the day before he died. She told him her father had lived for his three daughters and for soccer. "His passion was, you know, being there the whole weekend, just refereeing," she said. "He loved soccer. And we just never thought this was going to happen. He loved what he did and it was his passion." The family knew the chance of recovery was slim. "The doctor says only a miracle will bring my daddy back," says Johana Portillo. "The teen, who is not being identified because of his age, was arrested two days after the soccer field incident and was being held in a juvenile detention center on preliminary charges of aggravated assault, charges that will be upgraded now that Ricardo Portillo has died," says CNN's Stephanie Elam.
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