Former Durant football player now has device, hopes to walk again

Better Call Behnken

State reverses decision after Better Call Behnken investigation

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A former standout Durant High School football player, now a paraplegic, finally has the medical device he needs, after a Better Call Behnken investigation into a state error.

“It just makes me so happy,” Smith said. “I just can’t stop smiling.”

Kolten Smith’s therapists want him to use a standing frame medical device for 30 minutes each day. The hope is that standing will help his digestive system and, slowly, encourage his muscles to wake up so that he can one day walk again.

“Humans were meant to stand,” Smith said. “I feel better already from standing.”

Smith and his mother, Nicole Duffey, turned to Better Call Behnken for help after they hit the final road block in their quest to get the standing frame.

Their hopes were dashed because of a state error. The state’s Brain and Spinal Injury Program promised Smith the medical device, but when the shipment arrived it was a lift instead.

“They should know the difference between a standing frame and a lift,” Duffey said.

Kolten Smith was a standout football player for Durant High School. He was left a paraplegic after a terrible car accident and is now in college.

At first, Duffey said she thought it would be easy to fix the mistake. But it wasn’t. In fact, she was told they were stuck with the lift because it couldn’t be returned. The program refused to order what Smith really needed, saying they had already spent his individual allotment on the lift.

Well, Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken convinced officials with the Florida Health Department, which oversees the program, to take another look.

They reopened the case, and ordered the standing frame for Smith. They picked up the lift and now plan to find someone else who can use it.

Smith, who played football for Durant High School, was left a paraplegic after a car accident. Family and friends say his positive attitude is an inspiration to everyone around him.

He’s in college now and studying Business.

Smith stands taller than 6 feet in the standing frame device. He likes to stand to do his homework or watch TV.

If you have something you want Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken to look into, contact her at or call 1-855-BEHNKEN.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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