Tuesday December 5, 2023

How the Orlando Magic Approached the Safe Return to Sports

  • AdventHealth works with the Magic to keep players, and eventually fans, safe.
  • The NBA is finalizing its plans for the 2020-21 regular season as the league evaluate the safety of home court play and team travel.
orlando magic
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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In Orlando, the health of every NBA athlete, trainer, coach and staff member was closely monitored inside the NBA bubble. 

AdventHealth, the official health care provider of the Orlando Magic, played a major part in this process, advising Magic team staff and providing guidance throughout the playoffs.  

Here’s a closer look at just how the Magic kept their team members safe.

To prepare for entry to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex, each Magic team member began a mandated 48-hour, in-room quarantine which included two COVID-19 tests and meal delivery. When their health was cleared, players and team staff were given a Disney MagicBand, which theme park guests in the thousands use for entry into the parks and other touchless transactions. Players and team personnel also used them for entry into secure facilities and for cashless payments.

Upon entry into the bubble, players, coaches and staff enlisted the combined support of wearable tech devices to monitor their health and wellness. The Oura ring — a health monitoring device that tracks things like pulse, movement and temperature — was used to track wellness data. Kinexon supplied SmartZone SafeTag sensor technology — wearable proximity alarms — that alerted staff when they were not adhering to social distancing guidelines. Finally, the Disney MagicBand was used to monitor NBA players and staff as they crossed various checkpoints within the bubble. Hotel rooms were also equipped with thermometers and fingertip pulse oximeters. 

“The NBA covered all aspects including mental health wellness services,” said Alex Martins, Orlando Magic CEO. “The league implemented strict rules for everyone’s health and safety and it was mandatory that everyone stayed on the campus.”

According to Martins, other amenities included a team meal room with team chef, training room, meeting room, game room, weight room, resort pool, personal laundry, barbers, mani/pedis, fishing, bowling and golf. For mental and physical health, there was yoga, meditation and virtual exercise programming. 

As the players began their training regimens to prepare for competition, and once they began tournament play, their health was closely monitored with daily temperature checks and symptom assessments. All team staff maintained strict adherence to scheduled times inside the gym. Frequent COVID testing was performed by AdventHealth following CDC and Florida Department of Health guidelines.  

“We were proud to support the Orlando Magic players and travel team as they relocated to the Disney hotels and navigated the protocols of the bubble on and off the court through their playoff run,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman, senior vice president and chief quality and safety officer for AdventHealth. “It was truly a team effort.”

So, what’s next?

The NBA is finalizing their plans for the 2020-21 regular season as they evaluate the safety of home court play and team travel. AdventHealth will continue to work closely with the Orlando Magic to maintain health and safety protocols for all games in Orlando and on the road. When fans are welcomed back to the Amway Center, they will be cared for under a strict and comprehensive health and safety plan, consistent with NBA guidance and careful review and approval by the Florida Department of Health.

“The health and safety of our fans, employees, players and partners is our top priority,” said Martins. “We will continue to work with the experts from AdventHealth and all of our local, state and federal health experts and officials as we continue to plan for a safe return at some point in the future. We will ensure that Amway Center is a safe environment — not just to keep our fans safe — but also to make them comfortable that they are safe.”

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