Professional sports equipment managers play a significant part in the daily
operations of a sports team. Purchasing appropriate equipment is just one
component of managing it.
Equipment managers must also try to balance cost with quality, make sure
that the equipment is properly fitted, maintain the equipment and ensure that
inventories stay current.
The position of professional sports equipment manager grew out of the need
for qualified athletic personnel to fit football helmets. Improper fit can
make or break an athlete, affecting their concentration, impairing their vision
and hearing and causing them to be accident-prone.
Some former athletes turn to equipment managing as a way of staying involved
in sports. Sam Trusner, assistant equipment manager at the University of Illinois,
says he got into the profession when he found his playing career wasn't paying
"I acquired an interest in sports at an early age and found out my athletic
talents were not going to pay many bills," he explains. "I chose an area where
I felt I could stay involved."
Good communication skills are increasingly important for this line of work.
According to the Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA), close to
30 percent of an equipment manager's time is spent communicating with the
athletic department head, the coaches, the athletic directors and staff members.
As well, they promote sports programs through effective public relations.
Equipment managers are needed in school and corporate settings as well.
Most positions are salaried, meaning that managers earn a set rate no matter
how many hours a week they work. Some sports, such as football, demand more
of a manager's time.