When it comes to therapeutic modalities, I would have to say that I would probably be a minimalist. I feel that the therapeutic modalities worth having the most are effective, versatile, inexpensive, and/or reusable. Obviously free or almost free modalities are preferable as well. An example of this is different forms of massage and acupressure. Like the old-school mentality of some athletic trainers you discussed, I will not be including a hydrocollator or heating pads because this can be accomplished actively for very little cosst. The following is a list of modalities that I think make the cut with a theoretical $5000 budget and the rationales behind each choice.
Ice Cups- Obviously very inexpensive and used for ice massages, disposable but extremely cheap and effective.
Dixie Cups: $20
Ace Wrap- Reusable and very versatile, good for keeping ice on or adding compression to various injuries to limit or move inflammation or add stability
Various sizes, a couple of each size about $100
Ice Bags-Very cheap and necessary along with the ice machine for all the different icings needed every day.
Estim/Ultrasound Combo- This versatile machine is useful for preventing atrophy of mobilized muscles, increasing blood flow, breaking up scar tissue, and aiding in overall healing. This unit gives you plenty of bang for your buck.
Foam Roller- Good for therapeutic exercises, massages, and support
Exercise Bikes- Excellent for active range of motion and active warm-ups, improving blood flow, moving inflammation, preventing atrophy of muscle and preventing declines in endurance. Recumbent bike good for athletes or patients with lower back pain or conditions.
Ice machine- $1,700- Essential for all the various ice jobs that athletes need everyday in a training room, bin is included and holds plenty of ice poundage