(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected an appeal by seven retired National Football League players who argued a recent settlement between the league and thousands of former players stemming from a lawsuit over concussions does not go far enough.
The appeal, filed in July in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, came about two weeks after U.S. District Judge Anita Brody granted preliminary approval to a settlement that removed a $675 million cap on awards to former players who were part of the groundbreaking head injury lawsuit.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say 20,000 retired players could be covered under the agreement.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ambro said in an order denying the appeal that the court would issue an opinion at a later date.
The seven players, including Sean Morey, who coaches at Princeton University, said the settlement did not offer enough to those who had yet to see the worst of their symptoms appear, and did not cover all diagnoses suffered by players with head trauma.
The other players are Roderick Cartwright, Sean Considine, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Jeff Rohrer, and Robert Royal.
The appeal was unusual, partly because retired players who have joined the lawsuit are due to vote on the settlement in November. The seven players say appealing the settlement after final approval would be a costly waste of time.
A three-judge circuit court panel expressed skepticism during a one-hour hearing on Wednesday that they had jurisdiction to intervene before the settlement was made final, the New York Times reported.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE, a degenerative disease brought on by repeated head trauma, is one of the most common brain disorders affecting former players, the appeal said.
A growing body of academic research shows collisions on the field can lead to CTE, which can lead to aggression and dementia.
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh