Brittney Griner departed Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston on Friday morning and headed home to Arizona.
Griner left the San Antonio base where she underwent a routine medical evaluation around 11 a.m. on Friday, one week after arriving there from a nearly 10-month detention in Russia, CNN reported via her agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas.
Griner released her first statement since her arrival in the U.S. via an Instagram post, thanking the San Antonio military base’s medical staff.
“As I transition home to enjoy the holidays with my family, I want to acknowledge and thank the entire [post-isolation support activity] staff and medical team at the San Antonio Fort Sam Houston Base,” wrote Griner. “I appreciate the time and care to make sure I was okay and equipped with the tools for this new journey.”
Griner was arrested in a Moscow airport in February when airport officials determined her to be in possession of vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil. She was sentenced to nine years on drug smuggling charges.
Griner pleaded guilty to the charges in September and apologized for the incident, calling it an “honest mistake.” Earlier this month, Griner was returned to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
In her statement on Instagram, Griner thanked everyone who advocated for her release and vowed to use her platform to help bring American Paul Whelan and others home from being detained overseas.
“It feels so good to be home,” Griner said. “The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.
“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too,” she continued. “I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone that played a part in bringing me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole.”
Griner concluded her statement by vowing to resume her basketball career with the Phoenix Mercury when the next season starts on May 19. As she boarded the plane, Griner was surprised by Mercury GM Jim Pitman, team president Vince Kozar, and teammate Diana Taurasi.