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Punch leaves youth soccer referee In coma

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Updated: 5/03/2013 3:49 pm
MURRAY, Utah (KSL) -- A Utah family is holding on to hope as their father, a youth soccer referee who fell into a coma after being punched in the head by a player over the weekend, remains in extremely critical condition.

Riccardo Portillo, 46, sustained a punch to the side of his head after he issued a yellow card to a 17-year-old player during a soccer game Saturday. The teen was booked into a juvenile detention center for investigation of aggravated assault, according to Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

Hoyal said the player did not use a weapon but is being investigated for that potential charge because of the severity of the injury.

Initially, the family didn't understand the severity of their father's injuries. Portillo had been hurt before while officiating games, his daughter said. They waited for the call to come pick their father up from the doctor's office, but it never came.

Dr. Shawn Smith, a doctor at Intermountain Medical Center, said the hit to the side of Portillo's head caused bleeding around the blood vessels in one area of the brain, and blood loss and edema in another.

-- Andrew Wittenberg, NBC News reports

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