Late appeal moves NFL concussion case to Supreme Court

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A last-minute appeal in the NFL concussion case, filed by the son of an NFL All-Star and civil rights activist, has sent the proposed settlement to the U.S. Supreme Court and delays payouts for at least several months.

The family of the late Buffalo Bills fullback Carlton “Cookie” Gilchrist asked the high court Tuesday to review whether the judge should have approved the potential $1 billion settlement without a full challenge to the scientific evidence presented jointly by both sides.

“This enormous settlement was settled without a shred of evidence (presented) by the NFL. It’s just astounding … because there’s so much at stake here,” lawyer Jared Beck said Wednesday.

The appeal, for instance, questions why more money is awarded for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, than for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which some researchers link more closely with football concussions. At least two sets of other plaintiffs were granted extensions of the Tuesday deadline and can appeal through next month.

Players’ lawyers who support the 2013 settlement negotiated with the league on behalf of 21,000 NFL retirees insist their clients need financial and medical help now. Lawyer Jim Acho of Detroit, who sent a letter to clients Tuesday that said no further appeals had been filed and the payouts were imminent, called the Gilchrist appeal “unbelievable.”

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