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Brittney Griner reunites with her family at the Texas military installation, where she ate barbecue and took her first dunk since her release


Athlete Brittney Griner is at Brooke Army Medical Center, where this weekend she entertained family members, played basketball, ate barbecue and drank her favorite soda in an attempt to return to normality. 

This was the days of Brittney Griner when she was in prison in Russia 0:47

(CNN) --

Released from a Russian penal colony and back on American soil, WNBA star Brittney Griner had a bit of a normal life at a Texas military installation over the weekend.

The Olympic gold medalist and basketball superstar arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio on Friday of last week and is now staying with his wife, Cherelle Griner, in a residential setting located on the base.

Her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, decorated the venue with a Christmas tree.

Colas told CNN that Griner is "encouraged, grateful and hopeful" upon returning to the United States.

For Griner, who spent nearly 10 months in custody in Russia, "normalcy" meant enjoying one of her favorite things: a Dr Pepper soda, the first drink she had in the plane's hangar after landing.

Griner's family members have been visiting her for the past few hours, even bringing some barbecue from San Antonio for her to enjoy.


Brittney Griner's arrival in the US after being released from prison in Russia 1:26

These days, the athlete has been eating much more nutritious foods and supplements than she did during the time of her detention, Colas said.

“Her energy level from her was really high,” she added.

Griner also cut his hair short to clean up his "Russian mane," as his friends and family joke, Colas said.

Griner had already had to cut off his trademark long dreadlocks in captivity.

She battled a chronic flu while in custody because her hair would freeze and she couldn't dry it, Colas said.

At the Texas military base, Griner stepped onto a basketball court for the first time since she was incarcerated.

Her first move was a dunk.

Months ago, while in custody in Russia, Griner was offered a basketball and a hoop but refused to play, Colas said.

  • A look at Brittney Griner's prison days in Russia: with short hair and struggling with the seam

“I think it's fair to say that she voluntarily picked up a ball and the first thing she did was dunk…it was really encouraging,” Colas said.

"She was very excited."

Griner appears to be in good physical health, but it's up to her to decide whether to return to the WNBA in the spring season, according to Colas.

"Will you be ready?

We'll see,” she added.

Griner is receiving psychological support

The 32-year-old woman arrived at the San Antonio medical center for a routine evaluation after being released Thursday from what US authorities deemed a wrongful detention.

She was released as part of a US-Russian prisoner swap for convicted notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, a deal that took months of negotiations after the basketball star was arrested on drug charges at a Russian airport. in February and later sentenced to nine years in prison.

Brittney Griner is seen boarding a plane before her departure for the United States in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on December 8.


Now the focus will be on his recovery.

While in San Antonio, Griner will receive physical and psychological support from the government to help with her reintegration after captivity.

“He's had a lot of psychological support,” Colas said.

“The resources are very robust.

He is very supportive and very focused on BG.

It's about their ability to develop."

That attention is largely focused on helping former captives regain a sense of control over their lives after long detentions.

Griner chose to participate in the Defense Department's post-isolation program, which other wrongfully detained Americans have participated in, including Trevor Reed, Colas said.

  • See how the exchange between Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout was after being released in Russia

It's unclear how long Griner and his wife will stay in San Antonio, but the decision will be up to her, Colas added.

What did become clear is that "normal" will always look different after Griner's ordeal.

For safety reasons, the Griners have already begun the process of finding a new home, Colas said.

Griner wants to help another detained American

While it's still unknown if fans will see Griner on a basketball court again in May, one thing is for sure, Colas said: Griner is eager to use her power and influence to help others, especially Paul Whelan, another American. who is still imprisoned in Russia.

“It was one of the first things he asked me,” Colas said.

“She is very, very concerned about it.

And I'll send a message to Paul."

Whelan has already sent a message through US representatives who have spoken to him in recent days: "Please tell Brittney that Paul said he's happy she's home," they told him.

“She is absolutely thinking about the future,” Colas said.

"She's already talking about the position she's in now to help other people come home."

  • Exclusive: Paul Whelan tells CNN he is "disappointed" that the Biden administration has not done more for his release

Whelan, a US, Irish, British and Canadian citizen, is currently incarcerated in a Russian penal colony after being arrested in December 2018 on espionage charges, which he has denied.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

He, like Griner, are considered to be wrongfully detained by US officials.

The United States tried to persuade Russia to trade both Griner and Whelan for arms dealer Bout, but Russian officials would not budge on the matter, with Russia saying the cases of the two Americans were handled differently based on the charges. that each of them faced.

CNN's Holly Yan, Kylie Atwood, Jennifer Hansler, Wayne Sterling and Matias Grez contributed to this report.

Brittney Griner

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-12-13

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