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UNLV law professor attacked in 2016 speaks about surviving trauma

Posted at 1:13 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-12 02:48:09-04

A random attack at a quiet park left a UNLV law professor fighting for her life but nearly two years later, she is telling her story of survival.

Leslie Griffin was going for a stroll near Paseo Verde Parkway and Desert Shadow Trail in Henderson in October 2016 when she says the attacker came up from behind. Immediately, she was passed out and covered in blood. 

Mahsa Saeidi brings you the full story tonight at 11 p.m. on 13 Action News.

RELATED: Man arrested in attack of UNLV law professor

Griffin was rushed to the hospital with bleeding from the brain. 

"One of the doctors told my brother that he should probably let me go," she said. 

Even now, so many months later, it still remains a part of her.

"You still are in a different mindset," Griffin said, "when you come that close to death."

For a professor who spends days in library stacks, the sharpness of her mind is sacred. 

"You're going to hear right away, you can't be the same, you can't be healthy," Griffin said. 

But stubborn, strong-willed and surrounded by support, she won that battle, recovering from her brain injury behind the scenes. That is until the 1 October shooting inspired her to speak out. 

"Even with what I've been through it's hard to understand the kind of losses those people faced," Griffin said. 

She has a piece of crucial advice for anyone trying to recover from a devastating injury or loss. 

"Every day you need to try to get up and build the best life for yourself that you can," Griffin said. 

She knows from experience. This is the second time Griffin had a brain injury.

"I was hit by a car in 1993 and had 2 brain surgeries and all the doctors said I wouldn't survive and so my whole career has been built post one injury," Griffin said.