The Mayo Clinic and the Minnesota Timberwolves are spearheading an NBA-wide study that aims to establish what percentage of NBA players, coaches, executives and staff have developed antibodies to COVID-19. The initiative is supported by the league office and the NBPA. It is expected to have the participation of all 30 teams.
When Gersson Rosas was hired to run the Wolves, he hired Dr. Robby Sikka to help the franchise use data to optimize the health of players. Sikka is serving as the intermediary between the Wolves and the Mayo Clinic.
"We are learning about this disease," Sikka said. "We have learned a lot in two months. So if we can take the next two months, learn on the fly, mitigate risk, then we can move pretty quickly to do the right things to have safe play."
Stanford University conducted a similar study for Major League Baseball employees in mid-April. That study found that just 0.7% of that population tested positive for antibodies.
In this study, blood samples will be collected using the finger prick method and blood draws. According to a memo that was sent to teams and reviewed by ESPN, the Mayo Clinic hopes the study will help validate the less invasive method, making it easier for widespread antibody testing in the general public.
"I think teams are obligated to do something right for their communities before they do right for anybody else," Sikka said.