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(Reuters) - A potential $1 billion concussion settlement between the National Football League and retired players could be delayed after a former offensive lineman filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday in the landmark case.
Craig Heimburger, 38, who played 13 games with Buffalo and Green Bay before retiring in 2001, said he would appeal the settlement.
Even if the appeal is ultimately lost, payments to players suffering the effects of concussions would be delayed while the case is heard.
Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, co-lead counsels for the retired NFL player plaintiffs, said they were "extremely disappointed and perplexed" over the appeal.
"This decision means thousands of retired NFL players suffering from devastating neurocognitive injuries, and those concerned about their future, will now be forced to wait many months for the immediate care and support they deserve," they said in a statement.
"With over 99 percent participation, it is clear the retired player community overwhelmingly supports this agreement."
U.S. District Judge Anita Brody gave final approval last month to a settlement of a lawsuit brought by about 5,000 former players who accused the league of covering up the dangers of concussions.
The settlement includes allowing for monetary awards of up to $5 million per retired player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma and could cost the league $1 billion over 65 years.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney