SAN FRANCISCO (AP) A federal judge in California refused to dismiss a lawsuit by 1,500 former NFL players claiming the teams and their training staffs routinely dispensed a range of powerful drugs, often without prescriptions, to mask pain and injuries and get players on the field without regard for their long-term health.

The ruling by federal judge William Alsup for the Northern District of California allows the class-action lawsuit to proceed to the discovery phase. Alsup dismissed a similar lawsuit against the NFL in December 2014, writing that the collective bargaining agreement was the proper forum to resolve the players' claims.

The NFL had asked the judge to dismiss the new lawsuit, which named all 32 clubs as defendants instead of the league and also contends the teams intentionally misled the players while dispensing the drugs.

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