The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

The NBA Bubble

By Andrea Castiblanco
Sports Editor

No exception from the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA (National Basketball Association) was forced to implement a hiatus on the 2019-20 season on March 11. In hopes to bring back the season, the NBA’s Board of Governors agreed to a format that included 22 teams from the association to return to play on July 30thwhile following strict health and safety protocols. Partnering with the NBA, Disney agreed to host the games at their ESPN wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort with the three venues for the games being inside the Arena, Field House, and Visa Athletic Center, known as the “the Bubble”. Among the new guidelines for the 2019-20 season renewal are no fans are permitted in the games, daily Covid-19 tests, temperature checks, and extensive health monitoring. 

The NBA monitors each player’s health with Disney MagicBand, a smart ring, an individual pulse oximeter and a smart thermometer. Every morning the players must also log into the NBA MyHealth app downloaded onto their smartphones and fill out a daily questionnaire on their wellness status and answer if they have been experiencing any symptoms such as a sore throat, a headache, or muscle soreness. After completing the questionnaire, each individual must measure their temperature with their smart thermometer, along with their blood oxygen levels with their pulse oximeter. Both the smart thermometer and the pulse oximeter are synched with NBA MyHealth, which allows the results of each test to be automatically transmitted to the app. Following the health protocols, if any red flags pop up during these exams, such as a temperature of 100.4 of higher or low blood oxygen levels, on-campus medical staff will be called for a follow up. If the results are well, then the player must undergo security checkpoints and Covid-19 screenings that they will be only allowed access to with their Disney MagicBand. The Disney MagicBand acts as a key to enter the 25 health checkpoints that each player must do, as well as the key for players’ hotel rooms, arenas, and the training facilities. When applying the MagicBand to a sensor before entering to any activity, the sensor could either turn green or red; green meaning if all prior screenings are complete and the individual can proceed, or red, meaning an exam has been skipped or data is missing from a screening and the individual cannot gain access. Additional from the Disney MagicBand, each player is also equipped with a smart ring which detects potential coronavirus symptoms by measuring body temperature, heart rate and respiratory functions. All the data collected from the smart ring is processed to the University of Michigan and then studied for the potential chance of the virus, along with any underlying-risks. The NBA is also using Kinexon’s SafeZone Tags, which are devices to monitor social distancing. The device works by alerting you once the six-feet social distancing protocol has been compromised for more than five seconds. This device is optional for players to wear. Those who refuse to cooperate with the safety precautions enforced by both the NBA and Disney, will be prohibited from taking part in group activities and may be asked to leave the tournament. 

If a player were to come out positive for Covid-19 while in the bubble they will be retested to rule out the possibility of a false positive. If the second test comes out positive the player will then be taken to isolation housing where they will have access to meal delivery and cleaning services. If medical staff is needed it will be done via teleconferences unless the situation needs in-person assistance. To return to play and join the team inside the bubble, the individual infected must be free from all coronavirus symptoms, receive negative results in two Covid-19 tests that are more than 24 hours apart, and acquire a positive medical evaluation from the league’s physicians. The final step to obtain clearance to play is to go through a cardiac screening.

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