Among the many things being discussed in order to protect NBA players in a potential return to play in July has been the idea of wearing an Oura ring while on the Walt Disney World campus.
The smart ring has sensors on it that can detect different bodily functions and potentially help identify possible coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at their earliest point. Some players have questioned the device, wondering if this is a way for the league to keep tabs on players.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma went so far as to say the ring looks like a tracking device. The league insists otherwise and, in fact, the ring itself is not something foreign to its players.
Lakers director of sports performance Judy Seto actually wears the ring herself and in an interview with the Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, broke down some of its features and benefits:
“The electronics of this one is similar to a Fitbit but it’s a little bit more accurate,” Seto said. “… I can get it wet. I can have impact on it and it doesn’t catch on anything. This tells me how long did it take for me to fall asleep. It tells me sleep cycles. Light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep. How much did I get. Did I stay asleep or did I toss and turn at night? Gives me feedback of, ‘Hmm saw that you went to bed a little late or you kept on waking up at night. Is something bothering you?’ Your body temperature’s elevated, are you feeling well? Maybe you’re getting a little under the weather.”
Furthermore, Seto revealed that some players have chosen to wear the ring prior to the NBA shutdown because of how it can help discovering sleep patterns:
“Some do,” Seto said, when asked in February whether players have chosen to wear the ring. “There’s an app on the phone that you can do. There’s also different devices. Some just wear it in the evening. But it’s really individual and it’s education. Instead of trying to be intrusive or controlling, it’s working with them and educating them on it. With our travel schedule, it’s difficult sometimes to get enough sleep, but by educating people and the importance of sleep, hopefully making sleep more of a priority instead of it plays no factor in what we do.”
As Seto noted, the schedule that an NBA player goes through during the season can make it difficult to get regular sleep. The sensors on the ring can help track those patterns in order to make sure players are well rested among its many other capabilities.
Players have every right to question something like this in order to be sure their privacy isn’t being impeded upon and they are in no way forced to wear the rings, nonetheless it seems as if the league is simply doing its due diligence to ensure the safety of its players.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!