Soccer referee in coma after being punched by player - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Soccer referee in coma after being punched by player

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Doctors say a soccer referee in Utah remains in a coma after being punched by a teenage player unhappy with one of his calls. The family of referee Riccardo Portillo says their only hope is for a miracle.

The 46-year-old man was last listed in critical condition at Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. Doctors say they're trying to control swelling in his brain and his recovery is uncertain.

Police say a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league punched Portillo, once, on the side of his head Saturday after he was called for a foul. The teen has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault.

Portillo's oldest daughter says it wasn't the first time a soccer player assaulted her father. Johana Portillo says her father has had ribs and legs broken by players angry with his calls.

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