SAN ANTONIO — WNBA star Brittney Griner returned to the United States early Friday after being freed in a high-profile prisoner exchange following nearly 10 months in detention in Russia.
The Biden administration announced Thursday morning that Griner was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. KENS 5 then learned Griner was on her way to San Antonio on Thursday evening.
After arriving at Kelly Field around 4:30 a.m., when KENS 5 captured video of who is believed to be Griner getting off the plane, she is expected to undergo extensive health evaluation at Brooke Army Medical Center.
For someone who’s returned from overseas imprisonment, military hospitals like Brooke Army Medical Center are a place to focus on physical and mental health, according to Dr. Ralph Riviello, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and head of the University Health Emergency Dept.
The immediate checks involve doctors checking for issues like anemia, electrolyte imbalances and infections, Riviello said. Physicians also will identify any injuries that may have been sustained before or during incarceration that were undertreated.
Then, within a couple days, Riviello said a more in-depth assessment would most likely take place.
"(They would seek) more details about what happened to them during their incarceration and what they may have endured. Was there any physical violence? Was there any torture? Was there psychological torture or manipulation? Probably this would be a multi-disciplinary team," he said.
Following Griner’s arrest at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February, she pleaded guilty in July but still faced trial because admitting guilt in Russia’s judicial system does not automatically end a case.
She acknowledged in court that she possessed canisters with cannabis oil but said she had no criminal intent and she accidentally packed them. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.