Snell’s Orthotics-Prosthetics was established in 1911 as Snell’s Limbs and Braces, Inc., by the current owner’s grandfather, R.W. (Pop) Snell.
Jim (J.D.) Snell, the middle of Pop’s three sons, came to Shreveport in 1939. Jim Snell stood 6’8″, and according to a colorful retrospective written by Charlie Davis, the man who served as his company’s office manager for 49 years, “Big Jim” arrived in Shreveport with $300 in his pocket.
Despite the difficult times of the Great Depression, when many patients could not afford to pay for prostheses and orthoses and no government funding was available, the Snell business managed to survive. In 1948 Snell developed a process for making leg braces from aluminum that was heat treated after shaping, with steel bushings at the knee and ankle joints. The idea was so revolutionary that it took years before the industry was convinced that aluminum could be effectively used to create lightweight leg braces.
The polio epidemic of 1951 and 1952 required 24-7 service from employees to meet the tremendously increased need for braces.
Today, Jim Snell’s son, W. Clint Snell, CPO and president, leads the company as a third-generation practitioner with 42 years’ experience in O&P. He assumed full ownership of the business in 1976, and is well-known throughout North Louisiana and highly respected in the prosthetics and orthotics field for his expertise and his commitment to O&P education. He conducts classes at colleges and medical schools in Louisiana and provides in-service training and lectures on O&P patient management to the Louisiana medical community. He maintains ongoing patient care in addition to directing the management and long-range planning and policymaking of Snell’s Orthotics-Prosthetics.
In 2007, Clint’s son, Chris Snell joined the company as Project Manager. Chris represents the fourth generation of the Snell family to work in the practice. Currently, Chris is working on achieving his certification as a prosthetics and orthotics practioner through the Board for Orthotist Prosthetist Certification.
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