The NBA, which has been on hold due to COVID-19 for the last three months, is gearing up to restart. All remaining games will be played in a single arena at Disney World in Orlando, FL, with players living on-campus to avoid exposure. More details are now emerging to show what else the league is doing to help curb exposure, including offering players the option to wear the Oura smart ring.
In order to help fight the spread of the novel Coronavirus, each player will have the option of wearing an Oura smart ring to potentially detect early signs of infection. While the data is still up in the air on how effective this type of monitoring is, one study has shown that wearing an Oura ring can “forecast and predict the onset of COVID-19 related symptoms (e.g. fevers, coughing, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and others) three days in advance with over 90 percent accuracy.”
It’s notable that this is optional for the players, as 24/7 wear is basically required for the ring to do its thing. Medical staff won’t have direct access to the players’ health data, though they will get a notification if the “illness probability score” gets to a certain point. This is a fascinating use of new health-tracking technology, and if enough players opt-in could provide valuable real-world data for the future of wearables and illness prevention.
Players won’t be required to play when the season restarts and will not be penalized for choosing to sit out given the current health and social landscape. Players who do choose to play, however, will live life in a bubble in Orlando, with everything happening on-site. They’ll have full 24/7 room service, a players-only lounge with NBA 2K, and have the option to attend other games (which will be otherwise played without fans present).