Prep Rally previously brought you a deeply disturbing story from Utah, where a teen soccer player had punched a recreational soccer referee in the head, landing him in critical condition at an area hospital. Now that tale has taken an even more tragic turn after the referee in question died from complications related to injuries suffered in the attack.
As reported by the Associated Press and a variety of Utah news outlets, 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo died Saturday at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City. The referee had been hospitalized there since the attack on April 27, where Portillo issued a yellow card to a player in a recreational match and was attacked by the player with a strong punch to his head.
The AP has reported that the player in question was a goalie, competing in a game at Taylorsville (Utah) Eisenhower Junior High. The yellow card was connected with a play on a corner kick, where Portillo saw the goalkeeper in question push an opponent and decided the action was worthy of a formal caution. As he wrote down the goalie’s name in his notebook, the player reportedly snuck up alongside the ref and punched him directly in the head.
"When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him," Johanna Portillo, the victim’s daughter, told the AP.
Portillo’s reaction to the punch was not immediate, but was frightening. The 46-year-old reportedly said he felt fine in the immediate aftermath of the attack, but then asked to be held up because he felt dizzy. Portillo then sat down on the field and began vomiting blood, eliciting panicked calls for an emergency ambulance at the field.
The goalie in question has since been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault, though he could face additional charges now that Portillo has died. There has also been an ongoing debate about whether to charge the teen as an adult, despite the fact that he is 17 and not 18-years-old.
The now-deadly attack is just the latest disturbing example of aggressive action against referees going far beyond the realm of what is even remotely acceptable. More often it has been parents attacking referees, though players have occasionally gone beyond the realm of the reasonable in their reactions as well.Read More »from Utah referee Ricardo Portillo dies days after being punched in head by rec league soccer player