Brittney Griner is safe and at home. That is our most paramount concern. Period.
With this in mind, it is natural for the human mind to ponder: what comes next for the seven-time All-Star? After spending nearly ten months in Russian captivity, how will Griner cope with her experiences? And will she ever lace up a pair of sneakers again?
Road to Recovery
After her release from Russian custody, Griner was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, for a medical examination, a State Department official told CNN.
However, a standard medical examination can’t even begin to diagnose the plight of detainees that survived their capture. In an ESPN article that came out the day Griner’s release was publicized, multiple former detainees described the challenges that come with acclimating to regular life.
While no two detainees’ responses to these situations are exactly the same, many of those who spoke on the matter cited how difficult it was operating with very little autonomy over one’s own actions.
“Whether you’re being illegally detained by a government actor or being held hostage by a group of gangsters, the similarities are that you’re afraid, you have no autonomy,” Jessica Buchanon, an individual who was kidnapped by Somali pirates in 2011, told ESPN. “You’re in a situation that no one has prepared you for, that nothing will prepare you for.”
And when you do regain your freedom, it is difficult not to dwell on all the time and memories you missed out on with loved ones.
“It’s not like you get to pop back to where you were; the world’s changed, you’ve changed,” Amy Manson tells ESPN. Manson is a founding board member and chair of the family support committee for Hostage US – a nonprofit that supports the families of hostages and detainees.
Still, even with these obstacles, experts and fellow survivors appear optimistic about Griner’s chances of finding peace with her circumstances.
“Brittney will find this. She will come out of this. She’s already proven so much about herself and her life and what she’s capable of,” Buchanon tells ESPN. “She’s going to add this to her repertoire of badass moments.”
Back on the Court
As for the potential of Griner returning to the hardwood, that has already happened, to some extent at least.
It was reported Sunday that, while still at Brooke Army Medical Center, Griner participated in her first basketball workout since her detainment. Griner, a ferocious finisher in her playing career, decided that a dunk would be the perfect way to kick off her first session back.
Speaking of her playing days, her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said that Griner is still unsure of whether or not she will return to the game. But she added that we should be seeing a statement from Griner “this week.”
Griner’s public address will be something to monitor this week. She is an incredible talent and an integral part of the game. But more importantly, she’s a wonderful human, and it is good to see her taking steps toward recovery.