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Soccer ref hospitalized after punch during game dies

By David Self Newlin | Posted - May 4th, 2013 @ 11:02pm

TAYLORSVILLE — A soccer referee who was punched in the face after a giving a teen player a yellow card has passed away as a result of his injuries.

The attack happened April 27 on a soccer field behind Eisenhower Junior High School, 4351 S. Redwood Road. The 17-year-old player attacked ref Ricardo Portillo, punching him in the face after getting the yellow card for shoving another player. It was the teen's first game with the team.

At first, paramedics believed Portillo's injuries were minor because he did not show any sign of external injuries.


The responding officer found Portillo "laying on the ground in a fetal position, in the goalie box of the middle (of the) soccer field," according to a report obtained through a freedom of information request.

He complained of nausea, pain in his face and back and there was blood in his saliva. He was later transported to a hospital where his condition worsened, and eventually Protillo was in critical condition, suffering from extreme swelling of the brain, blood loss and bleeding around the blood vessels in one area of his brain.

Portillo died at the hospital at 9:33 p.m. Saturday.

The teen left the field after the attack but was later arrested. He was booked into juvenile detention Monday for investigation of aggravated assault. He remained in detention Saturday after police filed an extension to hold him before potential charges are considered early next week.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the league will be hiring off-duty police officers as security for future games, and the team the 17-year-old assailant played for has been expelled.

It is unknown how the death will factor in potential charges against the player.

Contributing: Pat Reavy

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