Smart Rings: England Stars Seen Wearing Popular Celebrity Device – Can It Boost Their Euro 2024 Performance?

The England team is leaving no stone unturned ahead of Euro 2024, as players are seen sporting titanium health rings favoured by top celebrities.

During training for their first Euro 2024 match against Serbia on Sunday, manager Gareth Southgate was seen wearing an Oura tracking ring. Midfielder Conor Gallagher was also spotted with one, and defender John Stones once described his as “addictive.”

“We’re beaming with pride when we see these elite athletes choose Oura, that’s really cool,” said Dorothy Kilroy, the company’s chief commercial officer, to Sky News.

So, what is the Oura ring?

Wearable trackers like the Oura ring monitor various health aspects, including sleep, heart rate, stress levels, and activity periods. For most people, they serve as a reminder to maintain their health. For athletes, they can help achieve peak performance.

“The ring is now extremely sophisticated,” said Joao Bocas, a wearables expert and head of the digital healthcare company Salutem. “It records heart rate, skin temperature variability, and resting heart rate. The new model offers blood oxygen sensing capabilities and insights into daytime stress and resilience.”

Will it give England an edge?

England is already a favourite to win the Euros, but the men’s team has never won a trophy at the competition. They’re looking for anything to help secure a victory.

Dave Thomas, who works with England’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the UK Sports Institute, says the ring could provide the team’s sports scientists with another perspective on player performance during the tournament.

“In a sporting environment, you have different wearables for various contexts,” Mr. Thomas told Sky News. “They can indicate if an athlete might be coming down with a bug or if they’re overloaded. This information can signal to sports scientists or coaches that it’s time to back off a bit and let the player rest.”

While Mr. Thomas usually works with non-commercial wearables, he acknowledges that trackers like the Oura ring can be more convenient for athletes, increasing the likelihood they will use them. “Commercial trackers are reliable and have a low hassle factor. In contrast, higher precision measurements often add more hassle, and athletes just want to focus on playing, training, and resting.”

Are these trackers the future?

Health trackers have been around since the 1960s, but the market has recently seen a boom. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Prince Harry, and Gwyneth Paltrow have adopted Oura rings, which cost between £300 and £550.

“There is definitely a trend of ‘fashion tech’ and being seen wearing the latest gadget,” says Mr. Bocas. “But I also think COVID-19 raised our awareness of health’s importance.”

Ms. Kilroy from Oura agrees, noting that the pandemic spurred the demand for wearable health tech. “We all felt very out of control of our health, right? Having access to your own health data and understanding it is liberating.”

However, Mr. Bocas believes we won’t be wearing health jewellery for long. “In five to ten years, today’s wearables will become obsolete. We’ll have sensors in our clothes, belts, glasses, shoes, and even implantable skin sensors, eliminating the need to wear anything.”

For now, England fans will hope the rings on some players’ fingers will help lead them to victory.