KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs players and staff -- along with every other NFL team -- are wearing contact tracers to help when positive COVID-19 tests arise.
"Hey, everybody here is doing the same thing," Head Coach Andy Reid said, "because it’s been so successful. And it’s a tribute to the NFL and the job they’ve done with this."
In recent weeks, NFL facilities have been shut down after reporting positive cases, but the small device is helping prevent the spread.
“It wasn’t a matter of reinventing the wheel, we really just needed to adapt to the new challenges that our clients and businesses have," said Mehdi Bentanfous, CEO of Kinexon North America.
Kinexon created the SafeZone Tag, which alerts users when they break social distancing rules and monitors who they are in close contact with.
“In case of an infection, we immediately can see which contact has been made to an individual and then limit the risk to the people that had contact with that person," Bentanfous said.
Kinexon had already developed sensor technology to help with location purposes, and when the pandemic began, the company expanded that technology.
“The technology is not only to keep the employees safe directly through the warning, but the information that we’re getting may make it possible for our clients, either in sports or in other industries, to rethink and restructure the workspace in order to make it more safe for their employees," Bentanfous said.
The SafeZone Tags have been so effective, the Southeastern Conference decided to use them.
“The SEC announced today that we’re wearing something during games to contact trace," Eli Drinkwitz, University of Missouri head football coach, said. "I mean, there’s always something new and improving and that’s part of what this year’s all for."
While sports play on during the pandemic, some credit can go to Kinexon.
“It’s not only in the NFL, but all the sports leagues and sports teams that have been using Kinexon," Bentanfous said. "We see very strong decrease in the number of cases, but also the number of contacts, and this is actually the ultimate purpose."
Manufacturing companies and schools also are using the tags, according to Kinexon.
The SafeZone Tags also protect an individual's privacy. While they keep track of who someone comes into contact with, the tags are not recording anyone's location.