NBA contact tracing sensors going into effect

Image via Getty/Sam Wasson

Starting Jan. 7, NBA players, coaches and staff will be required to wear proximity sensor devices for team activities beyond games.

This includes practice, travel (the team plane or the team bus) and time spent at practice facilities, notes Marc Stein of The New York Times.

The NBA hopes that the sensors improve contact tracing efforts after positive COVID-19 tests.

Players are not required to wear the sensors during games or at the team hotel when traveling, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

The Kinexon SafeZone sensors record close proximity (which is defined as six feet) and duration when people wearing the sensors interact, but do not track the location or an individual’s movement.

A health official with direct knowledge of the situation previously noted that the sensors should “significantly help” in determining which players or staff might need to quarantine.

“We don’t want to have to needlessly quarantine someone that doesn’t need to be,” said the official, per Holmes.

The effort is a collaboration of the NBA, the players’ union and medical officials, and those involved believe it should serve as a proactive measure.

“We’re hopeful that it can also be used not only when there are cases, but proactively to try to reduce contacts even before there are cases,” said NBA senior vice president David Weiss.

Data from the sensors will only be shared with the league and the person’s team and not with other teams.

Information from the sensors also won’t be available after the 2020-2021 NBA season.