A 17-year-old playing in a recreational soccer league last week was upset about a yellow card. So, as the official was signaling the call, the player sucker punched him in the face. Now, the ref is dead.
Portillo suffered swelling in his brain and had been listed in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.
The victim's family, which publicly spoke of Portillo's plight this past week, has asked for privacy, Hoyal said.
Johana Portillo, 26, said last week that she wasn't at the April 27 game in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, but she said she's been told by witnesses and detectives that the player hit her father in the side of the head.
"When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him," she said.
The teenager, quite a bit heavier than Portillo, began arguing with the referee, then unleashed a punch to his face. Portillo seemed fine at first, then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance.
The article goes on to say that Portillo's family had begged him to stop calling games because of angry players. Portillo ignored them because he loved soccer.
Now, a poor guy is dead because of one wannabe-Messi psychopath. Which should give all of us who play sports—whether in leagues or in pickup games—pause. Everyone gets a little fired up when playing competitively. It's nature. But the beer league softball player yelling balls and strikes with a volunteer ump? Or the intramural baller who wants to fight you after an accidental elbow? Get out of here. Chill. You're playing games, and your anger can have consequences.
[Angry soccer player image via Shutterstock]