Sporting Wearables

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    • LPGA joins NFL, MLB and PGA with WHOOP; NBA orders up Oura Rings.

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As sports properties return to live action, several are turning to biometric devices to help curb any further spread of the coronavirus among their athletes.

The LPGA and Ladies European Tour will use the WHOOP biometric technology to monitor athletes – and potentially detect COVID-19 early. The band alerted PGA golfer Nick Watney of his increased breath rate during the RBC Heritage, a symptom of the coronavirus. He then withdrew from the event after testing positive.

The PGA quickly aligned with WHOOP, which monitors respiration, heart rate, and sleep stages. The LPGA and LET will distribute more than 1,000 bands to their players and personnel.

WHOOP signed a five-year deal in 2017 to become the NFL Players Association’s official wearable, and Major League Baseball has approved WHOOP for in-game use by players. WHOOP has raised more than $100 million in venture capital to date, and investors include the NFLPA, Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and NFL player Russell Okung, among others.

While WHOOP catches on through several sports, the NBA opted for a different wearable in Orlando: the Oura Ring. The wearable – which measures the same sort of personal stats as a WHOOP band – was a key piece of the NBA’s protocol for the bubble. The league ordered more than 2,000 devices to help prevent the silent spread through monitoring subtle symptoms. Oura counts Shaquille O’Neal and Manu Ginobili as investors.