Photo: Ref in Coma After Beating from Player -- Daughter: "We Hope for a Miracle"
“We hope for a miracle.” - Daughter of Ricardo Portillo, Utah soccer ref who was atttacked by a player and remains in a coma
A soccer referee’s family says they are praying for his recovery after he was attacked by a 17-year-old player angry over a call against him.
On Saturday, Ricardo Portillo, 46, was refereeing a match in Taylorsville, a Salt Lake City suburb, when he issued a young player a yellow card after a foul. As he wrote down notes after the call, witnesses say Portillo was punched in the head by the angry player.
Though he appeared to be okay at first, Portillo told those around him he felt dizzy and needed help balancing. His friends say he sat down and began vomiting up blood.
Portillo was rushed to the hospital and has been in a coma since Saturday. His doctor at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City said Portillo remains in critical condition, and says the swelling in his brain makes his recovery uncertain.
Saturday’s incident was not the first, said his 26-year-old daughter Johana Portillo, who said her father had suffered broken ribs and a broken leg because of a violent players.
‘People don’t know it’s a game,’ she told AP. ‘We’re all there to have fun, not to go and kill each other.’
Ricardo Portillo’s family says he loves soccer and had been a referee for the recreational soccer league for eight years.
Friday is the 16th birthday of Portillo’s youngest daughter and the family was to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico on Thursday to celebrate with family. Portillo has lived in Utah for 16 years and had not seen his sisters in Mexico since moving. His family is now trying to bring them to Utah to see him.