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Soccer Player in Coma After Surgery

November 21, 2000

LECCO, Italy (AP) _ An Italian soccer player who fought with an opponent after a game had brain surgery Monday.

Doctors said Francesco Bertolotti was in serious but stable condition. The operation was aimed at reducing pressure from bleeding inside his head.

Bertolotti, a 33-year-old midfielder for lower-division Modena, went into a coma Sunday. Massimiliano Ferrigno, captain of the Como team, hit punched Bertolotti and his head hit the floor, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

``I despair for what happened. I would never have imagined it would turn out this way,″ Ferrigno told ANSA.

The Italian soccer federation on Monday requested Ferrigno’s suspension pending an investigation, spokeswoman Alessandra Zacutti said.

The two players scuffled during Sunday’s game, resulting in Ferrigno’s ejection from the match. Thirty minutes after the game, won 1-0 by Como, the players confronted each other in the locker room.

Ferrigno and Bertolotti were teammates three years ago on another lower division team, Bresciello.

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