NBA players may wear a smart ring to detect early COVID-19 symptoms

NBA

(WFRV) – As professional sports associations prepare to resume activity after the coronavirus shut them down, the NBA is considering a bit of technology to help detect symptoms when the season returns.

Players will have the option of wearing a smart-tech ring, CBS reports, which could provide early detection of coronavirus symptoms.

The rings, made by Oura Health, are intended to monitor the user’s sleep, readiness, and activity throughout the day much like an Apple Watch or FitBit. The Oura rings were the focus of a study that found they could help track COVID-19 symptoms up to three days before they appear.

The NBA provided players with information last week that laid out several safety measures that will be implemented when the season restarts in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort. CBS reports that among the safety measures is the option of wearing Oura rings.

GALLERY: Images of Prince Harry wearing the Oura Ring in 2018

A study by The West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and WVU Medicine from May shows the Oura ring, when used with the Oura app and artificial intelligence models, was able to predict the onset of symptoms with over 90 percent accuracy.

According to CBS Sports, wearing the ring is not mandatory. If a player does choose to wear the ring, ESPN’s Zach Lowe says NBA teams won’t have exclusive access to the player’s data. Instead, Lowe reports the team would only have access to the data if the player is in danger of contracting COVID-19.

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CNN reports that the Oura ring is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to monitor health data. While the NBA’s protocols do not go into much detail about the use of the ring, CNN says the protocols do include some guidance:

“To promote efforts to identify potential illness, upon arrival on the campus, each player and essential staff member will be given the option to participate in a process that uses a wearable device (worn as a ring) being studied and validated by the University of Michigan to generate a wellness assessment derived from metrics such as body temperature and respiratory and heart rate. The NBA will share additional details regarding the device and process for participation in a forthcoming memo to teams,” the protocols read.

“I am optimistic about the NBA’s return-to-play policies and procedures,” said Denver coach Michael Malone, who found out last month that he had already beaten COVID-19 after an antibody test showed he had the virus, the Associated Press reports. “They are going to do whatever it takes to make this the safest environment as possible. There are no guarantees and there will be a risk, but I feel confident in the measures to be taken pre-Orlando and once in Orlando.”

The NBA has hopes to restart the season by the end of July, according to CBS News.

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