A referee punched in the face by a 17 year old goalie in Utah last week has died in hospital one week after falling into a coma. Salt Lake City man Ricardo Portillo, 46, died after suffering massive internal head injuries sustained when he was forcefully struck in the face after issuing the teenage player with a yellow card. Portillo then fell to the ground and began vomiting blood. He was transferred to hospital in what appeared to be a stable condition but then fell into a coma due to brain swelling.

The suspect was arrested and taken into juvenile detention on suspicion of
aggravated assault, a charge which may worsen in light of Portillo’s death.

Portillo’s family said that this was not the first time he had been attacked and pleaded previously with him to stop officiating soccer games.

“It was his passion,” his daughter said. “We could not tell him no.”

Photo by Mark Nolan for Getty Images Sport