The PGA Tour has recently bought 1,000 Whoop bands for its golfers, after PGA Tour golfer Nick Watney said he was alerted via his Whoop band that he may have COVID-19.
Having worn the tracker for more than a year, Watney noticed one morning when checking the app that his respiratory rate had spiked.
Despite not feeling any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, he decided to get tested, based on his observations from his tracker, and discovered that he did in fact have the virus.
Watney said in a statement: “This alerted me to ask the PGA Tour for a test, even though I didn’t have any other symptoms, and I, unfortunately, tested positive. I’m very grateful to have identified these signs early enough, and I am now following PGA Tour Protocol”.
Use of the straps, which, like most wearable fitness trackers, do not have FDA approval, will not be mandatory, but will be encouraged.
Whoop, which was founded in 2011 by Will Ahmed, has won praise from athletes such as LeBron James and Michael Phelps. Since its launch, it has raised more than £75m in funding with investors that include Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and the NFL Players’ Association.
“We are rapidly onboarding everyone in the PGA Tour universe and respect the measures that they are taking to keep the Tour safe,” said Will Ahmed, CEO of Whoop, in a statement to CNBC.
Whoop is currently working with Cleveland Clinic and CQUniversity in Australia to investigate a respiratory rate pattern as a way to detect COVID-19 during the incubation period of the virus, before the individual feels sick.
In a recent interview with Fit Tech
magazine, Ahmed said: "Earlier this year, Whoop became the first wrist-worn wearable device to validate the accuracy of its respiratory rate during sleep in a third-party study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
"We are using our algorithms and biometric data-driven by respiratory rate to specifically identify COVID-19 in a more reliable way than a symptom like a fever, which can point to a variety of illnesses."
Read the full interview with Will Ahmed in Fit Tech issue 2 2020, out soon