NBA players could wear smart ring to track COVID-19 symptoms as season resumes

The Oura wearable tracks temperature, respiratory rate and sleeping patterns.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read

The Oura smart ring.


As the NBA restarts its season using Walt Disney World facilities in Orlando, Florida, players are reportedly set to use a wearable to track their health and look for COVID-19 symptoms. Oura Health confirmed it's providing the Oura smart ring and its "early illness detection monitoring" system to not only NBA players but also team and league staff. 

The smart ring will provide early warning signs if a player is in danger of contracting the coronavirus  -- the company's Enterprise Illness Management (EIM) platform can asses illness risk by looking at a user's temperature, respiratory rate, resting heart rate and heart rate variability.

"We now have compelling evidence for how Oura can support discoveries in illness detection, symptom profiles and recovery," Harpreet Rai, Oura CEO, said in an emailed statement. "Working with the NBA is the next step in our mission to help safeguard public health.

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While some pointed out that perhaps a better use of the Oura smart ring would be to give them to essential workers like doctors, nurses, medical staff and teachers, Oura responded by saying it's provided smart rings to health care workers on the front line of COVID-19 during trials with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and The Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI).

The RNI said the Oura ring enables them to "predict the onset of COVID-19 related symptoms (eg fevers, coughing, breathing difficulties, fatigue and others) three days in advance with over 90% accuracy." 

The Las Vegas Sands casino and hotel group will also be providing its employees with Oura rings when it reopens, Oura said.

The NBA is resuming its season on July 30, with players staying at three separate  Disney  World resorts. They'll play games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports facilities. The NBA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.