Reports out of the tentative negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NBA and players union indicate that a wearables committee is set to be formed. This committee made up of NBA officials and representatives of the players will determine how and where wearable technology will be used to track and record player biometric data.
This move is intended to reduce the number of injuries and overexertion issues that players experience throughout the season. Playing your best players throughout most of the game is a good idea on paper. After all, shouldn’t you put the players that score the most in the game?
In practice, this doesn’t work out very well at all. As the season goes on, prolonged exertion and intense workloads take a toll on the players. Top names like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving end up sitting out key games to rest. If there was a way to track these player’s exertion levels, the coaches would be able to better manage the team’s time in the game in order to improve player longevity.
What about long-term player health?
Another important factor to consider is long-term player health. In a recent report in Undefeated, the Retired Players Association is discussing additional screening for retirees after a series of deaths involving young former professional players.
As of right now, biometric trackers are banned in the NBA as part of its equipment regulations. However, this committee would enable players’ representatives to work out a new agreement to enable their use in the court.
This data would provide a valuable insight to players, their trainers, and their medical team(s). This technology is already approved for Major League Baseball players. These teams use a system called Motus.
Meanwhile, the NBA, NHL, and NFL continue to ban these devices during games… for now.