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Rings to Help NBA Players Identify Covid-19 Early, A Problem With the Plan

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:
Jun/22/2020

The NBA has partnered with Oura Health to provide every interested player and staff member a ring that could help identify “presymptomatic illnesses” related to COVID-19.


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From the Denver Post:

According to a memo sent to teams on Sunday evening, the ring measures four biosignals – heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate and body temperature variation. The ring is designed to generate an “illness probability score” to help identify more susceptible or potentially presymptomatic people. If the score indicates a higher risk, the NBA and/or NBPA may notify a physician. Sunday’s memo to teams reinforced that wearing the ring is optional and emphasized any information would be kept between the individual, the NBA and the NBPA.

“Teams will not have access to this data; however, teams will be notified in the event that an individual’s illness probability score indicates that such person may be at higher risk for, or is showing signs of, a possible coronavirus infection,” the memo read. “Notified teams will receive the underlying illness score but will not receive the underlying data without written permission from the player or staff member who tested positive.”

Appearing on the Dale & Keefe Show Monday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst surfaced the topic of protocols regarding positive tests, highlighting a potentially unrealistic element within the plan.

"I don’t feel the league has been transparent with that," he said. "I can’t say if they’re doing that on purpose or not. According to the rules in this giant document — and let me tell you, you have to really look in this document. It’s not spelled out on Page 1 — a player that tests positive would not only be quarantined for 14 days but would have no exercise for 14 days. The reason that is important is because they are concerned about the cardiac risks that come along with COVID regardless of whether you show symptoms or not. You would be shut down for 14 days and then at that time you would have to test negative twice over a 24-hour period.

"Obviously, if you're in tip-top athletic condition if you lay in bed or sit in a chair for 14 days you are not going to be able to play in a game on Day 15. You are going to need to ramp back up. ... According to what that handbook says 14 days, no exercise, sit in your room."

- Dan Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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