According to a memo sent out by the National Basketball Players Association to the players union and obtained by The Athletic, players will have the option to wear the biometric sensor-laden Oura ring when the 2019-2020 NBA season resumes play at the end of next month in Orlando, Florida.
The NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak by commissioner Adam Silver on March 11, with many people crediting the league for reacting quickly and setting off a chain reaction of professional sports leagues around the world halting play in the interest of the safety of players, staff, and fans.
Earlier this month, Silver announced that the owners and players union had agreed to restart the season, with all games to take place on the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando in what will essentially be a quarantined ‘bubble’. Nobody outside of the league will be allowed contact with anyone within the amusement park’s ESPN Wide World of Sports campus.
The report states that the ring isn’t mandatory, with players simply being given the option to wear it should they choose to. The biometric sensors embedded within the Oura ring track a number of the wearer’s metrics such as temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and sleeping patterns.
The data collected from the ring can be used to track the players’ health and possibly provide early warning signs of illness or susceptibility to getting sick. In a study released last month by West Virginia University and Oura, results indicated that analysis of the biometric data collected from wearers of the Oura ring could be used to predict the onset of COVID-19 as much as three days before any symptoms of the virus.
However, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, in the interest of privacy, team staff won’t have access to any data collected by the ring unless the ‘illness probability score’ (which is generated for the wearer from the metrics collected) indicates the need for further medical review.
Sources: CBS Sports, The Athletic, GQ
June 19, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis