SEC announces partnership with contact tracing company

Sports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, the Southeastern Conference announced a partnership with the contact tracking company KINEXON.

By wearing a small tracing device, players will be alerted if they are within six feet of each other. If a COVID-19 outbreak occurs, data shows with players are at risk for COVID-19 exposure.

The contact tracing devices are about the size of a watch face. They can be worn on your wrist or around your neck.

Jim Garofalo, the executive vice president for sales and marketing for KINEXON, said players can be assured these devices do not track or store information on your location.

“We’re not tracking where an athlete is moving on the field, we’re not worried about if it’s on the field or in the locker room, it’s really about sensor to sensor contact,” Garofalo said.

With a minor modification to football jerseys, these traces will be used for SEC football games this week.

“They will have a pocket so they can put it underneath their jerseys,” said Garofalo. “So if it’s underneath their jersey or attached to their shoulder pad, it’s not in any way on the outside of their body.”

Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn said he is looking forward to trying this out with the Tigers this weekend.

“It’s one thing the NFL has been doing and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so I think it’s a positive thing,” Malzahn said. “The whole thing about this year is that it’s going to be a learning experience. The fact that the NFL has used it and used it successfully I think it’s a positive, but we will learn week to week.”

At the end of each day, the devices are used and put to charge. The data is stored in case a COVID-19 outbreak occurs. Only designated officials will have access to the tracking information.

On Wednesday, with SEC commissioner will be speaking with CBS 42 about KINEXON and what it means for the upcoming football season. 


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