Athletic Training Supplies: 4 Steps to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

By Brian Bradley, MS, ATC, LAT, CSCS

Whether you are a new Athletic Trainer (AT) or experienced professional, the school year is winding down and you’ll need to place an order to restock your inventory for next year. How do you go about ordering supplies and getting the best deal?  This article will give you 4 steps to follow to help get the most bang for your buck.

1. Take an Inventory

Start by taking an inventory of supplies at the beginning and end of the year. This will tell you how many supplies you used over the course of the year. After a couple of years, you’ll  see trends in your supply usage.

2. Make a List of Items Needed

Make a list of the items and quantities you want to order. I recommend ordering about 105 to 110 percent of what was used in the past year. This gives you a little cushion in case your usage goes up in the next year. If your usage goes down or stays the same, you’ll have some back-up stock and be able to order less the next year.

3. Make a List of Suppliers for Items and Request Pricing

Now you know what you want to order and how much to order, you will need to figure out where to get the supplies from. I suggest getting bids from different suppliers. Send the list of supplies you want to purchase with the quantity to the representative from the company. The supplier will then send back the list with the best price the company can offer you. I suggest sending this list of supplies to a few different companies. This way you can compare the prices and get the best possible deal.

4. Review Bid PricingSometimes on the bid from the company, they may suggest a value brand they feel is comparable to the name brand. I recommend trying 1 or 2 of these items and seeing how the quality is compared to the name brand. This is a good practice because these items are usually less expensive, and it will keep you trying new items to see what is better.

A few things you will want to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you ask about the cost of shipping. That may increase the overall amount
  • If you are working at a school, see if the school is tax exempt and give that information to the supplier. It may save you some money on sales tax
  • Ask the company if there is any sponsorship available. This may require hanging up a banner or sign around campus to receive a larger discount or free items. Before taking this step, make sure you clear this with your boss
  • Don’t be afraid to call the company and talk to them about their bid process
Below is a list of companies that offer sports medicine supplies. There are many others out there, so be sure to do your research.

Collins Sports Medicine -

Cramer Sports Medicine -

Henry Schein -

Medco Sports Medicine -

Sports Health -

Collins Sports Medicine -

Cramer Sports Medicine -

Henry Schein -


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