(SportsNetwork.com) - Attorneys say an appeal filed by a former offensive lineman and his wife over the potential $1 billion NFL concussion settlement could delay care for players in need by "many months."
Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, co-lead counsel for the retired players who sued the NFL over concussions and their effects, said Wednesday they were "extremely disappointed and perplexed" by the appeal filed by Craig and Dawn Heimburger, which places the settlement on hold for the time being.
They said any objections that would likely be made in an appeal have already been overruled by the federal judge who gave final approval to the settlement last month.
"With over 99 percent participation, it is clear the retired player community overwhelmingly supports this agreement," Seeger and Weiss said in a joint statement.
"Throughout this settlement process, we have heard directly from countless retired players who are in dire need of these benefits, and their most common question has been to ask how quickly they can get help. For those who hoped to receive benefits as soon as this summer, this appeal is heartbreaking news. We look forward to offering a forceful defense of the settlement in the Court of Appeals."
The settlement would pay up to $5 million to former NFL players diagnosed with a qualifying neurocognitive illness and includes money for education programs geared toward concussion prevention.
The deal settled thousands of lawsuits brought by former players who said the NFL new about the dangers of head trauma and hid information for years.
It was reached after U.S. District Court Judge Anita B. Brody initially rejected a $765 million settlement agreed upon on August 2013 because she feared not every player who qualified would be paid throughout the 65-year term of the settlement.
Heimburger, 38, was a lineman for Green Bay, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Houston between 1999-2002, seeing action in 13 games. He was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the NFL by several former players in January 2012.
The suit said Heimburger, who was 34 at the time, was suffering from physical symptoms including dizziness, memory loss and intense headaches as a result of head injuries from his time as an NFL player.