NBA to require players to wear sensors

The NBA is planning to roll out an ambitious aspect of its leaguewide contact tracing program by requiring players and many team staffers to wear sensor devices during all team-organized activities outside of games starting Jan. 7, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN. Only Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals — designations outlined in the league’s health and safety protocols that include players and specific staff members, such as coaches — will be required to wear Kinexon SafeZone contact sensor devices on the team plane, the team bus, during practices, and to and from the arena or their home practice facility in connection with team travel, the memo states. – via Baxter Holmes @ ESPN

The sensors do not record GPS location and will activate when coming within close proximity, which is defined as six feet, to another person wearing one — a point that health officials across the NBA emphasized to quell concerns about whether individual movements would be monitored. It is expected that the “proximity alarm” feature on the devices, which was active in the Orlando, Florida, bubble, will be disabled this season. The memo states that the sensors will record “the distance and duration of in-person interactions” with others who are wearing a sensor, which the NBA believes will aid in its contact tracing reviews in instances of positive cases. Such reviews will be supplemented with interviews of players and staff members, as well as potentially examining camera footage at team facilities, to better understand who might have been exposed to an infected individual. – via Baxter Holmes @ ESPN

One health official with direct knowledge of the situation noted that the sensors should significantly help in better determining which players or staff might need to be quarantined should the situation arise. “We don’t want to have to needlessly quarantine someone that doesn’t need to be,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. – via Baxter Holmes @ ESPN

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