The 2019-20 NBA season is slated to resume next month on the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Florida. However, once the league's players are inside the "bubble," they'll have the option of sporting an additional accessory.
According to The Athletic, the NBPA sent out a memo to the players union that an Oura ring will be offered to each player. The ring will track the health of the player and give early warning signs if a player is in danger of contracting the coronavirus.
NBA players will wear a ‘smart ring’ at Disney world, per https://t.co/UCLdrFVMWo— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 18, 2020
The Oura smart ring is capable of predicting COVID-19 symptoms up to 3 days in advance with 90% accuracy. The ring can measure body
temperature, respiratory functions and heart rate. pic.twitter.com/pYYIqOLDbZ
The report also states that the ring isn't mandatory. The NBA and Oura haven't commented on the procedure at this time.
The ring contain sensors that measure physiological metrics such as temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and sleeping patterns. The device will also be able to sync with a smartphone app that players can check where their health stands.
According to GQ, the ring wasn't initially designed to help prevent disease, but the data it collects could be useful in detecting symptoms for COVID-19. A recent study conducted by West Virginia University's Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute suggests that the numbers can help give three days of warning for coronavirus-related symptoms at a 95 percent success rate.
"If we can provide insight into asymptomatic people who may be spreading the virus and help with earlier detection with this technology, it can inform better decision making, facilitate safety, and prioritize who gets testing and other health containment strategies," Executive chair of the Institute Dr. Ali Rezai told GQ.
In terms of resuming the season, there are quite a few factors that need to be sorted out from a health standpoint. ESPN's Zach Lowe reports that teams won't have exclusive access to player data if a player decides to wear the ring. The team would only have access to the data from the ring if the player is in danger of contracting COVID-19.
It's certainly going to be worth monitoring the amount of players that decide to wear the ring. Even without fans in attendance for games, players and coaches being in close proximity to one another may cause extra precautions to be taken and the ring is certainly one option for tracking the potential spread of the virus in the NBA bubble in Orlando..