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Utah Teen’s Punch Lands Soccer Referee In Critical Condition

A soccer referee who was reportedly punched in the face by a teenager during a game is in critical condition in a Utah hospital, four days after the incident.

After sustaining what seemed to be minor injuries, the official, 46, later lost consciousness -- leading doctors to find "far more serious head injuries than thought," reports The Salt Lake City Tribune.

The player, 17, was apparently unhappy with a call the referee made during a Saturday morning recreational game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville, about 10 miles southwest of downtown Salt Lake City.

After the referee gave the teen a yellow card, reserved for serious fouls, the "player reacted by turning and punching the referee, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal," reports the Deseret News.

The teenager was arrested Monday, on suspicion of aggravated assault.

The Tribune reports that the county district attorney will "review the case and decide whether the youth could be charged as an adult. Until then, the suspect -- in custody at a youth detention facility -- is considered a juvenile and his identity was not being released."

More details of the official's condition are not currently available; many media reports agree that he was struck once in the head.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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