Law & Economics student, Scott DeAngelis, has been admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. His dissertation is titled, “Tackling the Concussion Problem: Legal Intervention to Prevent and Compensate Concussion-Related Injuries.” DeAngelis’ dissertation committee consists of Professors W. Kip Viscusi, Chair, Paige M. Skiba, Kevin M. Stack, and Gabriel A. Torres Colón.
The topic of concussions has received increased interest in the legal community. This is no doubt in part from controversial allegations that the National Football League, the most popular league in American sports, had covered up the risks of concussions for years. The surrounding litigation and advances in science have brought to light both the prevalence of such injuries and their potential long-term consequences. Now, the focus has turned to efforts seeking to reduce such injuries from occurring and how to compensate those individuals who will develop health problems as a result of past concussions suffered. In Chapter One, I will undertake an empirical analysis to measure the effectiveness of attempts to reduce youth concussion rates through state legislation. In Chapter Two, I plan to evaluate the current compensation proposals for former athletes who have suffered concussion-related injuries and offer an optimal compensation scheme, taking into consideration the unique challenges posed by the characteristics of concussion-related injuries. In Chapter Three, I propose an experiment that examines risk-taking behavior in win or bust scenarios through a decision that parallels those faced by athletes who must determine whether to continue playing or retire early, comparing the decisions made when payoffs are flat to those when payoffs are increasing.