Bruce: Batman has no limits.
Alfred: Well, you do, sir.
What happens when you get enough injuries, even if you appear to be Made of Iron. Usually showcased by having a Made of Iron hero trudge into their headquarters after an action scene (one that more often than not establishes how much punishment the hero can give and receive) only to have them shuffle off their uniform and reveal the various injuries and strain on their joints that a life of adventure would realistically lead to. Typically done to show the hero even more of a Determinator than first thought since they're still out doing what they do despite looking like they should be in a hospital.
Often the fate for a hero who pushes himself into Heroic RRoD mode on a regular basis.
- One Piece:
- Whitebeard. He's still the strongest pirate in the world at the time of the series, but his age has caught up with him. Despite how much ass he kicks during the Battle of Marineford, it's acknowledged that he's not as good as he was during his prime. Which is why he dies. He was stabbed 267 times (including being impaled on a giant sword), shot 562 times, hit with 46 cannonballs, and pierced by lasers along with having half his face melted off. 20 years earlier, that still wouldn't have been enough to kill him. Special mention goes to the fact, however, that, despite his front side getting absolutely obliterated, his back, even all these years, is completely spotlessnote , owing to the fact that he never ran from a fight.
- For a non-human example, we have Zunesha the elephant. It has lived for over a millennium and has carried the island of Zou on its back for almost that long, but such a long lifespan took its toll on its body. Strong as it remains, its body has become a lot more fragile and not very durable.
- This is the primary reason the original heroes of Kinnikuman, especially Kinnikuman himself, had to step aside for the younger generation in Ultimate Muscle.
- This trope is brought up in the third and final arc of Rurouni Kenshin. In the epilogue that takes place five years later, it's gotten so bad that Kenshin has to give up his signature sword style due to the strain it put on him, despite only being in his 30s because his frame was lighter than what his Hiten Mitsurugi style was designed for (And unlike his teacher, and despite said teacher's warnings, Kenshin was never into that whole weight-lifting thing.).
- Invoked during the course of the Blame manga with the main protagonist, Killy, who endures many physical hardships during his journey. By the final chapters, his otherwise indestructible body is literally falling apart.
- At the end of Guilty Crown, Shu ends up blind and with a bionic arm to replace the one Gai sliced off.
- Underneath his flowing red trench coat, Vash the Stampede of Trigun hides a body covered with scars and stitches. Despite his absurd luck and reflexes allowing him to avoid and overcome an endless stream of bounty hunters gunning for him, his adherence to not killing means he's suffered at the hands of his more persistent opponents.
- While Guts of Berserk is practically a One-Man Army, he never makes it through a fight unscathed. Over the course of the series, he loses his left hand and right eye, while his body becomes riddled with scars. After receiving burns from Emperor Ganishka's lightning his skin becomes so scarred that he can't even sweat properly. To make matters worse, the Berserker Armour that enables him to fight like a demon and ignore pain also robs him of life the more he uses it, steadily bleaching his hair and numbing his perception of taste and color. The Skull Knight warns that it could eventually turn Guts into a literal walking corpse like him.
- Mr. Chi/The Great Zuma in Tiger Mask: while his skills were top-notch, his old age made him physically weaker and less tough than the other wrestlers, allowing Tiger Mask to ultimately defeat him. When Mr. Chi's condition is revealed, Tiger Mask is the first to recognize that he would have lost badly against him in his prime.
- My Hero Academia:
- It's revealed in the first chapter that All Might, the world's foremost hero, was grievously injured in battle with a then-unknown villain (later revealed to be against his Arch-Enemy, All For One, upon whom All Might inflicted similar injuries). That battle nearly destroyed his respiratory system and cost him his entire stomach. Between the injuries and recovering from the surgeries to fix the damage, All Might's physical condition has suffered to the point he can only maintain his Heroic Build and act as a hero for three hours a day. The rest of the time he looks as emaciated and weakened as his injuries would suggest. This Hour of Power deteriorates even further after he passes his power on to Izuku Midoriya and he finally retires from heroism when he uses the last remnants of One For All to finally defeat All For One.
- His successor Izuku Midoriya is facing the same risks. After injuring himself too many times from using power beyond what his body can handle, he's told that his injuries will soon build up until he's too disabled to be a hero. Midoriya hopes to get around this by developing less taxing ways of fighting with his powers while his body slowly grows more durable.
- Hajime no Ippo: Ippo's lengthy boxing career eventually results in brain damage severe enough to force him to retire.
- Scryed: Three of the strongest Alter Users show various signs of their powers taking a serious toll on their bodies, all apparently from witnessing the Other Side to some extent.
- Straight Cougar's Radical Good Speed has left his legs "seriously messed up", forcing him to walk with an odd shuffling gait. The final episode reveals his hair, which in the series is bright orange with a grey stripe originating at each temple, used to be brown.
- Ryuhou seems to take some of the damage his Alter Zetsuei does in its true form. By the end of the series, he has noticeable scars or possibly wrinkles where Zetsuei's third form attaches to his face.
- Kazuma gains numerous lines and discolorations on his arm similar to his Shell Bullet Alter, including some spots of pure black where his skin seems to be simply gone. After gaining the power of the Other Side, he loses the ability to use his right eye if he's not at least in the Shell Bullet's second form and regularly comments on his arm hurting when not using his Alter. By the end of the series, parts of his hair are the same bright orange as his Alter and he's gained more lines on his face.
- Tomorrow's Joe: Joe develops Punch Drunk Syndrome from his boxing career but refuses to retire until he's had his shot against Mendoza. By the final match he's barely sentient for half of it, and collapses after the final decision with the implication that he's possibly not waking up again.
- Megalo Box: By season 2, Nomad is revealed to be in the early stages of boxing-induced brain damage. He chooses to retire, though not without one final match for the ages.
- Great Teacher Onizuka: After over a decade of street fights and jumping off of buildings, Onizuka is this in the final arc of GTO and it becomes a horrifying problem. Onizuka is targeted by a group of baseball bat-wielding motorcycle riders who hit him in the head multiple times. What really makes this fight dramatic is that Onizuka is suffering from a brain condition in which if he suffers one more major blow to the head, he will die. The biker gang is well aware of this information.
- This is the central theme of Star Wars: Visions: The Elder. Both the titular Elder and Jedi master Tajin are getting on in the years. After Tajin wins the duel, he tells his padawan that the Elder was ultimately far more skilled than him, but Tajin was comparatively younger and stronger. In the end, the Elder was defeated by age more than anything. This short was the last work of director Masahiko Ôtsuka before his retirement.
- Angel: After the Fall: Angel's body endures a great deal of punishment from spending months fighting demons in hell after being turned human again. Because he lacks the endurance and healing factor he had as a vampire, he relies on magic to heal himself. However, it doesn't stop his body from aching from battles from months ago.
- Atomic Robo: Jenkins started out as Tesladyne's resident unstoppable super-badass, but following the explosion at the end of Vol 8 and the period spent fighting vampires he endured afterwards, he looks a lot rougher than he used to, with much of his left side held together with scar tissue and some minor cybernetics. His hair's gone white, too. He remains an unstoppable super-badass, but aware of the toll his increasing age and battle scars are taking on him, he begins grooming ALAN 2.0 to be his replacement.
- Batman whenever they show him in old age (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Beyond, Kingdom Come, etc). Many times he starts relying on Powered Armor to compensate, which has its ups and downs (it's just as likely to injure him from use as a bad guy). Knight Fall has him overstrained by a breakout at Arkham and eventually crippled by Bane, which took him a year to recover from. Even in his older characterization (multiple Robins, involved with the Justice League), it's mentioned that the next injury he has will likely put him out of commission.
- One Black Panther comic had T'Challa dealing with an untreatable, progressive brain injury from repeated head trauma that'd eventually kill him after eroding his mind.
- Jason Aaron's 2010 - 2012 run on The Punisher MAX explored the physical and emotional toll that 30+ years of crime-fighting had had on the then-60-year-old Frank. While still a nigh-unstoppable killing machine, as he's battered by more and more challenges, his condition gets more and more dire, finally resulting in his death.
- The Dead Man arc in Judge Dredd showed that, horrific burns aside, Dredd has a lot of scars from bullets. Note that he's actually had numerous skin grafts performed on him during his lifetime, and he's still scarred beyond belief. That's what you get from getting into firefights with bad guys armed with machine guns and chainsaws for fifty years straight.
- Shows up from time to time in Astro City, typically after a Badass Normal superhero has had a particularly tough fight. It's particularly tragic in the case of Supersonic, who used to be a Genius Bruiser par excellence but has found that, between his age and his many blows to the head, he's no longer able to think of a tactic more complicated than crushing his opponent with pure brute strength.
- While not quite as physically damaged as other examples on this list, Amanda Waller finished the first run of Suicide Squad an emotional mess, exhausted with dealing with murderous supervillains and in a perfect position to retire to a tiny Caribbean island country. She would have gladly retired and spent her life there had the U.S. Government not realized how invaluable her services were and how desperately they needed someone who could get the same results she got with what she was given.
- In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Megatron has become this. In his prime, he was almost supernaturally powerful, but now a combination of age, injury, self-doubt, and a power-sapping toxin has Brought Him Down To Normal. Subverted Trope. Ratchet eventually admits that the "toxin" is just a placebo to make Megatron more manageable. This revelation, coupled with Megatron overcoming his self-loathing, restores him to being a Person of Mass Destruction. The problem had always been mental; physically he was just as dangerous as ever.
- Cassandra Cain is shown as covered in scars whenever you see her out of costume, particularly in her solo book, which is fitting considering the childhood abuse she was subjected to by her father in his attempt to mold her into the ultimate assassin.
- A Crown of Stars: Shinji and Asuka went through a medical check-up the second day they were in Avalon, and the doc was distressed by what she found. Both of them had signs of malnutrition, nerve damage in several areas, numerous signs of emotional and mental trauma, and assortment of old injuries and scars (Asuka still bore the marks from her fight with the MP Eva's and was nursing a recently healed gunshot wound to the gut, while Shinji had several broken ribs, a broken arm, and a hairline skull fracture from when Winthrop and his goons nearly beat him to death 3 years ago).
- A sobering version occurs in the eighth chapter of So Were A Couple where Ty Boreale is changing into his sparring armor when his eye catches on his most recent scar thats a little over a month old. The trope comes into effect when Ty notes the rest of his scars on his body and prompts him into keying the privacy screen for his locker. Given the setting of the fic its not surprising; then you remember Ty is only seventeen.
- While Ganondorf managed to survive being stabbed in the chest in Tangled In Time, he still suffers a lot of pain from it as it does not heal and has to take blue potions constantly to deal with it. Along with the loss of the Triforce of Power, Ganondorf is less powerful than he was in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
- In Fallout: Equestria this is part of the reason why Littlepip decides to stay in the SPP at the end. After being repeatedly shot, stabbed, blown up, irradiated, and mutated she was just too broken both physically and emotionally.
- Godzilla Junior in The Bridge has a Healing Factor that makes the old wounds he's accumulated as his world's lead protector very hard to see. However, when he's depleted of most of his power following the battle to save Canterlot and requires about a week to recharge, they all become much more obvious and he's Covered in Scars.
- Bucky Barnes in Ain't No Grave is still a One-Man Army, but seventy years having his brain zapped by HYDRA have left the former Winter Soldier with a host of neurological complications, ranging from an off-and-on stutter to full-blown seizures.
- According to Kakashi in Team 7's Ascension, every ninja that lives to be forty or older has already reached this point. Due to not only how dangerous their profession is but also the tolls medical jutsu invoke on a person (medical jutsu isn't magic, it only speeds up the healing), most ninja develop arthritis in their thirties. Regardless of how in shape they are, by fifty their bones and internal organs match up with a civilian in their seventies. It's another reason those like Sarutobi who live to their seventies are legendary. Not only did they survive shinobi life for roughly sixty years, but physically they're at least in their nineties.
- Xander in Father Goose and the Black Knight is only 25 but is still shown to be impressively banged up from a decade of demon hunting. Besides his missing eye, he also has a nasty limp and walks with a cane, and just in general shown to not be able to run and fight like he used to.
- At the ending of The Vow, Lord Shen becomes this after he falls into a wreck-filled stream, gets broken bones, and walks with an injured leg right after that. The previously deadly fast warrior in his fifties is left with a less nimble right arm and a limping left leg. As such, he needs a cane to walk properly and has to focus less on speed and more on defensiveness in his new fighting style (like using his left hand for swordplay and supporting his weight with his right leg).
- In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku accidentally threw Katsuki Bakugou through a concrete wall at four years old. Katsuki survives but is left with debilitating scar tissue across his arm and chest as well as titanium screws to keep the pieces of his arm bones together. He had to work his ass off to overcome these disabilities but ends up tearing through more robots than anyone else, earning his canonical 77 Villain Points despite his injuries.
- In many Danny Phantom fanfictions, Danny is shown with lots of scars from his ghost fights. He is also often shown returning to his house injured and bloody, to either perform first aid on himself or for his sister Jazz or his girlfriend Sam to treat his injuries.
- In The Many Sons of Winter's backstory, Robert Baratheon was dealt a terrible wound at the Battle of the Trident, though he remained a formidable warrior. However, unknown to even his closest circle, the wound never healed right and if he exerts himself too much, he needs some seriously strong anaesthetic to stop the pain.
- In Wake Up, Princess, Tony Stark admits he's been forced to retire as Iron Man because his recently shattered ribs, even when healed, means his body can no longer handle the strain of piloting his armor.
- Before his euthanasia in Terrible Horrible Very Bad No Good Fic, Tony likely only had two years left to live due to a combination of old injuries, stress, and insomnia. His injuries included poorly healed bones, leftover damage from palladium poisoning, and a scarred heart that required a pacemaker.
- The Desert Storm:
- When mysterious, deeply traumatised Jedi Master "Ben Naasade" (actually a time-travelling Obi-Wan Kenobi) shows up at the Temple on Coruscant, he's given a full medical exam that leaves the Healers more than a bit shocked at just how thoroughly wrecked he is from a catalogue of wounds, diseases and exposure to toxins. He also has significant liver damage from alcohol abuse and a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Young Obi-Wan doesn't escape this fate either, suffering from persistent pain and stiffness in one wrist after it got very nearly shredded when his lightsaber blew up in his hand [[spoilers: after being sabotaged by Palpatine.]]
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: By the time the movie takes place Peter B. Parker has been operating as Spider-Man for 22 years and it's starting to take a toll on him. His nose is crooked, indicating it's been broken at least once, and his narration mentions that he once suffered a serious back injury. Despite these injuries he's still an active superhero and can keep up with Miles, Gwen and the other Spider-Men.
- A theme present in all Rocky films, Rocky Balboa even has Duke run down a laundry list of Rocky's injuries, and why he has to train for pure power. The first major plot point of Rocky V is that his body is so broken down he has to retire from boxing.
- James Bond:
- In the aged version, the unofficial movie Never Say Never Again has a doctor declaring that most of Bond's skin is scar tissue.
- The effectiveness of the aging Bond, M, Mallory, MI6, Skyfall Manor, and Britain itself are all questioned in Skyfall, only for all of them to prove to be considerably tougher than they look.
- Skyfall also has a more direct example. James Bond is shot in the shoulder during an action sequence near the beginning of the movie. He endures it and keeps fighting, but the lingering effects of the injury go on to cause him trouble during the rest of the movie.
- One of the better moments of Daredevil (2003) has the titular hero shambling into his apartment after a relatively tame night of crimefighting, taking off his costume, tending to a battery of scars and bruises, and popping an absurd amount of pain pills just so he can get some sleep.
- Batman Begins has Alfred note that Bruce's injuries will add up over time and suggests talking about extreme sports to explain them away. The Dark Knight has a Shirtless Scene showing multiple lacerations and bruises on his back. This comes to a head in The Dark Knight Rises though not as much from aging as from injury and inactivity. The knee that he hurt in the fall at the end of the previous film never healed properly and he, at first, used a cane to get around. When visiting a doctor a startling list of injuries and damage is given, least of which is that the cartilage in his knees is destroyed. Defying recommendations from Alfred, he tries getting back into fighting shape using a bionic brace on his knee, but it's repeatedly mentioned he is off his game and out of practice.
- One moment in The Batman (2022), as shown by its trailers, has Bruce Wayne shirtless to show that his back is absolutely covered in scars. Keep in mind that he's only been Batman for two years at this point.
- Tim in Jurassic Park repeatedly survives what grown adults would be lucky to survive, but because of this, he has a limp, his hair is singed, one of his ears is bleeding, his arm is bandaged up, and he generally looks dazed. In his brief appearance in the sequel, he still has a bit of a limp, the poor kid. Also, according to this Character Blog, he's also severely, hilariously, traumatised.
- The titular machine from The Terminator initially appears to be invincible, shrugging off being floored by several solid-slug shotgun blasts, blown up, lit on fire, and being thrown from a speeding car with absolutely zero negative effects. As the film goes on though, the thing is slowly but steadily taking permanent damage: it loses an eye and damages its hand during a car chase and shoot-out (though it manages to repair its hand), it ends up dragging its foot after being run over by a semi-truck, and ends up losing all its skin and being nothing more than a singed, limping, skeletal robot. And it still keeps coming for Sarah.
- The "Guardian" Terminator in Terminator Genisys shows signs of malfunction and disrepair after spending 30+ years looking after Sarah Connor. Even a Terminator can't last forever, especially in a time that doesn't have the technology to properly repair him. His joints actually stop working for a few seconds at a couple points in the movie, requiring some Percussive Maintenance to unjam them. He's old...but not obsolete.
- By the time of Logan, Wolverine's Healing Factor is not working as well as it used to, and as result his body is covered in scars, and, by Caliban's offhand mention of witnessing Logan wiping pus away from unhealed exit wounds between his knuckles, the wounds are also frequently getting infected. This applies to Professor Xavier too, who's now an old man suffering from dementia who can't control his mental powers, with serious potential consequences for anyone in the vicinity.
- Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The poor guy got the crap beat out of him by a Giant Mook, shot in the shoulder, beat up again by a different mook including being punched in said shoulder repeatedly, and dragged behind a truck - nothing of that was able to stop him. But when he finally got to a safe place, he was so sore all over, covered in cuts, bruises, and abrasions, that he barely could take his shirt off for a bit of After-Action Patch-Up. And then, Marion inadvertently hits him in the chin with a mirror, prompting a far less stoic reaction.
- Avengers: Endgame has a few cases, two of whom are related to using the Infinity Gauntlet - both Thanos and Hulk get severely scarred in the arm used for the Badass Fingersnap. Iron Man also starts the movie as an emaciated husk that can barely even stand after spending some time in a spaceship with dwindling resources, and even when he's seen recovered five years later, it still takes some time for Tony to find his fighting spirit.
- Zig-Zagged in The Dresden Files, where Harry notes that the amount of punishment he's taken over the years would give him the health problems of a football player. But, as a wizard, he heals perfectly over time, without scar tissue or the aftereffects of broken bones. That said, it still takes him a normal time to heal from his wounds. Such as when he had severe second-degree burns on his hand, it took several years for it to get back into his old range of movements without pain or stiffness.
- In Cold Days, it's revealed that Mab grants her Winter Knight a higher pain threshold without necessarily a corresponding increase in durability. While he's able to ignore pain, he doesn't actually heal faster or withstand damage, instead just not realizing that he's hurt. The drawbacks of this are examined in detail, and it's specifically noted that if he's not careful, he could rip his muscles from his bones just by overexerting himself without realizing it. Even more dangerously, his pain masking is an effect of the Winter Knight Mantle, which, if he gives into it too much, would gladly make him into an actual psychopathic monster. It's not until Battle Ground that Mab notes that the purpose of the Winter Knight Mantle is to seduce with offers of power, and it's intended and necessary for the Winter Knight to resist those offers and be stronger for it.
- The protagonist of A Harvest of War has numerous scars to show for her violent, long life and mentions being in constant pain. Her ankle strength is a distinct problem.
- Druss in Legend is pretty much scar tissue wrapped around the early stages of arthritis and pressed into the shape of a man. He gets plenty of advice on managing it and ignores every last bit, because he's 100% sure he's going to die soon anyway, so his body failing faster isn't going to be a problem.
- Maul: Lockdown: Artagan is a famous prizefighter and former cult enforcer who has recently suffered a punctured lung and brain damage that gives him epilepsy.
In his fifty-fifth year of life he'd become what the other prisoners referred to as a knockout mouse, a former champion who'd hit the ceiling of his abilities and was waiting for the inevitable final bout. The one that would kill him.
- Evoked in one Redwall book with Lord Asheye, a Badger Lord who fought a great deal when he was younger and is now always aching because of his many, many scars.
- Uhtred, in the later books of The Saxon Stories. Decades of warfare have left him covered with scars and walking with a limp. Then comes his duel with Cnut Longsword, which leaves him in crippling agony for long months.
- The Stormlight Archive: Averted for Dalinar Kholin in Words of Radiance. One surgeon specifically notes that the sheer number of scars and injuries he's sustained should leave him practically immobilized, and yet he's actually still in pretty good shape thanks to his beginning to develop a Nahel bond, and the associated Healing Factor.
- Tortall Universe:
- Alanna complains of this in the Protector of the Small books. Even her ability to heal herself with magic hasn't stopped numerous aches and pains from getting battered in armor for fifteen years.
- Although Mattes Tunstall is one of the most famous Dogs in the Beka Cooper books, he's been in far too many fights and brawls over the years. He gets both legs broken in Bloodhound and spends the rest of the book laid up because his body is resistant to healing magic now.
- Geralt of The Witcher series is in a profession where he is constantly at risk of getting slashed by both monster claws and man-made steel alike. While he's pretty much considered the best witcher that has ever lived, all those years on the job have really left their marks on his body.
- Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody of the Harry Potter franchise is one of the most renowned and feared hunters of dark wizards. But such a job comes with danger, and he wears the scars all over himself. He's missing a leg, an eye, and his face is horrifically scarred, including a chunk of his nose missing completely.
- By the end of The Underland Chronicles, Gregor is covered in so many scars that he realizes he can never go to a doctor, because they'd ask about them, and the truth would get him institutionalized.
- In the Wheel of Time series, this is played with regarding Rand Al'Thor. On the one hand, he accumulates injuries through the series, including two separate wounds that will not heal and the loss of his right hand. However, he also spends the series furiously training in both sword play, unarmed combat, and jumps multiple levels in badass regarding his magical abilities, to the point that he is the most powerful channeler on the planet without question. So while his physical body weakens as the series progresses, he is much more of a threat the the villains by the end of the series than he was at the beginning.
- Whenever a Police Procedural does an episode involving contact sports, there's a good chance that this trope will arise, probably because someone is covering up the fact that a celebrity player is dented iron and shouldn't be competing at all.
- On a gymnastics-themed Bones episode:
Booth: Can you explain why your daughter showed signs of abuse?
Professor Watters: Amanda was a gymnast, nationally ranked.
Brennan: Gymnastics could definitely explain the damage to her bones.
- Booth himself. Hes been shot more than once, beat up numerous times, blown up, tortured, not to mention childhood abuse. There are indications from time to time of the resulting aches and pains.
Brennan: (Regarding Booth) You know on your x-rays, there's a history of multiple fractures on your feet consistent with beating. It's a common method of torture in the Middle East, beating the soles of the feet with pipes or hoses.
- Booth himself. Hes been shot more than once, beat up numerous times, blown up, tortured, not to mention childhood abuse. There are indications from time to time of the resulting aches and pains.
- At the end of Season Five through Season Six of Elementary, Sherlock is suffering from the effects of Post-Concussion Syndrome. The precipitating incident was a Tap on the Head treated seriously, but Sherlock's history of substance abuse, boxing, and other martial arts activities, and accumulated injuries from previous adventures also played a part.
- Game of Thrones: In Season 6, Jorah's age and Greyscale infection is starting to catch up to him. Though he retains his skill, he has stamina issues compared to younger men like Daario.
- On Vikings Ragnar is a badass Viking leader who fought in numerous battles and shrugged off many wounds while making himself the king of Kattegat and a healthy chunk of Norway. In season 3 he leads a Viking army against Paris, and during an assault on the city, he is pushed off a city wall and suffers grievous internal injuries. In season 4 we are shown the toll that this injury in particular and all his past injuries have taken on him. It takes months for him to heal from the injuries he suffered in Paris and even after being healed he is noticeably weaker and less energetic than before. Furthermore, he is morbidly obsessed with death and dying, and strongly holds the belief that his own death is imminent. When a slave introduces him to the medieval equivalent of painkillers he almost immediately becomes addicted, which makes him even more withdrawn, dysfunctional, and erratic than before. While still a badass, he is severely diminished both physically and mentally.
- This eventually happens to all the major characters of the first season. Through Lagertha is a blatant example of Not Allowed to Grow Old, she eventually becomes this at the end of season 5 with large scars of her face and pronounced limp from a incorrectly treated injury. Rollo is last seen being a shell of his former Blood Knight-self, having a physician feed him medicine and his men no longer allowing him to do battle.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand gives us the former gladiator and now ludus Doctore Oenomaus. Once perhaps the most skilled gladiator in Capua, he sustained a serious injury in his final fight which forced his retirement. However, he manages to recover to the point that he can easily hand both the two newest top dogs their asses at the same time. Come Season Two he's captured after deliberately trying to get himself killed in a fight, and ends up tortured and crushed under a burning building, and then loses an eye. He's still a badass but isn't quite the unstoppable killing machine he once was.
- Roy Kent in Ted Lasso. In his prime he was one of the best midfielders in the world, but now he's aging, slowed down a lot and plagued by a recurring knee injury so he's nowhere near the player he used to be. He can still break out the old magic when he's motivated but it takes a lot out of him. Deconstructed when he pushes himself past his limits in the Big Game at the end of Season One and his body basically gives out, forcing him to retire.
- The titular character in Hawkeye (2021). He needs to use a hearing aid since he became almost deaf after standing too close for too many loud explosions, and he is seen at multiple points in the series applying ice on his limbs after a fight. That does not prevent him however from being as deadly as during his time with the Avengers.
- Titans (2018). Hank Hall (the superhero Hawk) is this by the time he's introduced to the audience, with all the injuries he's accumulated from years of crime-fighting starting to add up and taking their toll on his body, not to mention the ones he got from his Collegiate Football career. In an aversion of Good People Have Good Sex, he can't have Rescue Sex with Dove due to the stress and medication he's been taking.
- Paul Simon's "The Boxer".
In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade,
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down,
Or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains.
They never leave the ring before it's too late
- Similarly, John Gorka's "Dream Street."
They never seem to quit in their prime
I guess it's taken as a given that a champion is driven
So he can always win one more fight.
- In the first Baldur's Gate, Dynaheir implies that her bodyguard Minsc's 'unique' view on life is the result of taking too many blows to the head over his career as a berserker.
- This is a major theme shared by many characters and bosses in Dark Souls and the Soulsborne series, many of whom are major figures who played huge roles lore-wise, but are now way past their glory days. That won't stop them from kicking some serious ass, however, including yours.note
- The protagonist in Planescape: Torment is an immortal being who has lived for hundreds of years and been killed nearly innumerable times. As a result, he is covered head to toe in scar tissue. He can benefit from items normally intended to work on undead zombies because his body is just that ruined.
- In the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, Lara goes through a LOT of punishment. The first thing that happens to her is her getting impaled on a spike. While she can push on throughout most of the game, the injures do pile up. There are times when her mobility is hampered until she gets some help. By the end, she has quite a few scars, and not just physical ones either.
- Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4. In his career as a super-soldier, he's taken so much of a beating physically, mentally, and genetically that he's turned into a man who's physically in his 60-70s and is reliant on nanotech injections to keep from coming apart at the seams.
- Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3 is a long, traumatic game of literal Break the Cutie for the quirky rookie stealth operative who will go on to become the Big Boss. During the ill-fated Virtuous Mission, he discovers that his mentor and mother-figure is a traitor and gets his arm broken, shattered ribs and multiple lacerations from fighting a Curb-Stomp Battle against her. Not even given a week of recovery time, he's back out on another mission when his doctor suggests he should be back in intensive care. He gets shot through the thigh with a crossbow bolt (also poisoned with the venom of one of the deadliest spiders on earth), then he gets captured and subjected to a brutal Cold-Blooded Torture session under a sadistic Soviet Colonel which sees him beaten to within an inch of his life and subjected to 10 million volts of shocknote , and then he gets his right eye blown out by the muzzle flash of a point-blank gunshot. That's only counting the canon injuries he takes over the course of the story, nevermind the ones that might happen over the course of a given playthrough. He's a physical wreck by the end credits, and it shows.
- In Mass Effect 3, this is the state that Commander Shepard is left in after being blasted by Harbinger. S/he's bleeding out, has severe burns, and is obviously in great pain with every step s/he takes. It's impressive that s/he's even able to move at all.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Mandalore (Canderous Ordo from the first game ) is roughly sixty, and the de facto patriarch of his Proud Warrior Race, having fought battles since his early teens. He remarks that he has to rely more on his cunning and his equipment these days. It's implied that he's all-but bound to his armor as a life-support system, much the same way Darth Vader would be.
- The Iron Bull, a potential companion in Dragon Age: Inquisition, is astoundingly big and tough, but he's been fighting for most of his life and has the scars to prove it- he's also missing one eye, part of two fingers, and wears a leg brace. Not that any of this slows him down.
- Implied in The Sims and its sequel: Upon reaching the Superstar level of the Pro Sports/Athletic career track, the job description mentions that it's taking longer for the Sim to recover from injuries. Not that it has any effect on gameplay.
- Reinhardt from Overwatch is still in his Power Armour kicking ass at 61 years old, but his age and his scars do occasionally catch up with him. It's implied he wants to retire, but he feels he can't. The superhero organisation he was a part of fell apart after he was forced out of action and someone has to pick up the pieces. His suit is in a similar condition — it's still fully capable of kicking ass, but time is catching up with it. It's made very obvious just how worn down both he and his armor are when we see what they were like at their prime in his animated short "Honor and Glory", where he plows through entire streets of battle-Omnics like they're nothing, laughing all the while.
- Really this applies to all the older heroes, to varying physical and mental degrees. Soldier: 76 is a disillusioned shell of his old self, Ana had her right eye shot out and seems to suffer PTSD, Torbjörn is horrifically racist towards Omnics due to bitterness, and Reaper is implied to be in constant unbearable pain due to his flawed healing powers.
- B.J. Blazkowicz of Wolfenstein fame gets this treatment starting in Wolfenstein: The New Order, delivering this line as Fergus is giving him CPR during the opening sequence.
B.J.: Death at the gates again. Howling my name. Can't greet you today. I have a war to win.
- Ethan Winters in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard goes through a lot over the course of one night, so much that by the time you fight the final boss, he can't even move his legs anymore as a result of all the punishment he endured.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda: Nakmor Drack is an old krogan, probably the oldest krogan seen in the series. His long life of violence has left him down several redundant organs, and an arm, and several comments by characters, including Drack himself, indicate this has taken a toll (not that you'd notice. A battered krogan is still a freaking krogan).
- Mihaly A. Shilage of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is noted in-universe to be unbelievably resilient and flexible for someone his age. However, no matter how strong he is, the continuous strain of flying in the outer layers of the atmosphere and his advancing age have ravaged his body and he needs a special G-suit to withstand the crazy maneuvers he pulls. During your first encounter with him in Yinshi Valley (which is Mihaly's second known sortie in the war), radio chatter indicates that the duel's strain on his body is so great that his aircraft's systems send out critical warnings, and Dr. Schroeder later confirms that he came back to base in a messy state.
- The Witcher, much like the book series that spawned it. A notable instance is when Geralt meets Berengar and Berengar off-handedly mentions that the beatings Geralt has taken have taken their toll on his sword work. More specifically, Berengar knows that Geralt at one point tore a ligament in his knee and can tell it never healed properly from his footwork.
- Ben T. Sharpley from Everyday Heroes was caught in a training accident while in the Army. Because of this, his spine is bent at a right angle; still, he manages to work full-time running an amusement arcade.
- Agent 250, of Niels / Secret Agent Men fame, is forced to transfer job positions within the Agency after this starts to occur.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Going through a lot of physical strain over the two days covered by Chapters 9 and 10, reacting to it all just by going to sleep as if it's a normal evening and having breakfast with everyone else the next morning as if nothing unusual happened make Sigrun come across as Made of Iron. In a later chapter, one of the wounds from that time turns out to have become infected, causing her to come down with a fever and the affected arm to not work as well as it used to. She tries to keep on pushing herself to keep up morale and be a more effective commander, but this just results in her reopening her arm wound, causing the infection to fester, and nearly killing herself.
- While Dominic Deegan, being a Squishy Wizard, is hardly what you'd call iron - more like copper or gilding metal - he takes some serious injuries over the course of the comic, including the loss of a leg and several teeth. The one time we see him go in for a check-up, the diagnosis was summed up as "I'm surprised you're not dead". The major reason he managed to keep going was that his battles were primarily psychic or on magical planes rather than physical.
- Rocky, despite being a wisp of a young man, can usually tank whatever people throw at him (he'll get black eyes from being punched in the face and be more or less healed a page or two later). However, he seems to meet his match after being run over with the Arbogast's hearse, leaving a nasty gash right down the center of his forehead. While he survives and manages to sleep off the initial concussion and the drugs Elsa gives him when treating him, he still has a noticeable split in his forehead and has clearly sustained some sort of brain damage since he seems slightly...off now.
- Viktor Vasko went from wartime trenches to labour-related violence to working as a hired thug for a speakeasy, a job he's held for seven years, and it's done a number on his body. When Rocky calls him a "one-eyed man with knees that don't bend," he objects that one of his knees still kind of works.
- The titular character from Gary and his Demons is a demonhunter old enough to retire. Despite being by all accounts physically capable of doing his job he does feel his age and has enough issues to make Rusty Venture look sane by comparison.
- In Batman Beyond, Bruce finally hangs up his cape (figuratively speaking, since his latest suit doesn't have one) after a hostage rescue goes awry due to his body deteriorating much faster than normal aging would account for. He still appears to be in excellent shape at that point, but his heart isn't what it used to be, and having a heart attack in the middle of a fight, he ends up forced to grab a gun to defend himself against a mook, and, disgusted with himself for this act afterwards, he decides that it is time to retire. By the time Terry McGinnis shows up at his mansion, Bruce is genuinely old and walks with a cane. In "Disappearing Inque", he states that he once tried to compensate for his deteriorating state by using Powered Armor, but it's the armor that ended up damaging his heart due to the strain.
- Terry later visits Bane (long retired) to investigate the case of Venom being distributed as a performance-enhancing drug, only to find out that Bane's use of Venom over his life has left him crippled, comatose, and on 24/7 life support.
- A plot point in one episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Ernie Devlin had been a stuntman for so long, with all the injuries that ensued (broken arms, legs, clavicle, ribs, country club, and "fractured ass") that he needed pills just to function as he got older, leading to an addiction. Harvey tried to use that to claim he wasn't guilty by reason of insanity. He forgot he was defending Devlin in a lawsuit.
- Toph cites this as the reason she and Katara didn't participate in any of the goings-on in The Legend of Korra. About seventy years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender, they don't move like they used to anymore due to age, injuries, and what have you, although they do teach and heal where they can. Case in point, after the first real fight she's had in quite some time, Toph mentions that her back was just about to give.
- It also shows when Zuko participated in the fight against the Red Lotus with Tonraq, Desna, and Eska. While he lasted a good while longer than the latter two, who are exceptionally talented young waterbenders, he was floored by one solid hit from Ghazan (and fighting at night in arctic tundra, a place where he's at his weakest, likely did not help).
- Korra herself also suffers from this early in season 4, as she is still suffering from the effects of her poisoning, though she mostly recovers.
- Although none the worse for wear externally, Steven Universe is revealed to be this in Steven Universe: Future. During his first proper health evaluation in his life, an X-Ray reveals that although his gem powers are able to repair any injuries he received through his many pratfalls, battles and dangerous experiences growing up, the process was very haphazard in execution, leaving his skeleton Covered with Scars from all the breaks and fractures he's experienced, to say nothing of all the mental scars those experiences created.
- Bonnie and Clyde were like this: Clyde had an inmate chop some of his toes off with an axe to get out of hard labor at Texas' Eastham prison house, and walked with a limp as a result. Bonnie suffered third-degree burns to her leg, possibly from battery acid, after a car crash in June 1933. The couple couldn't get medical treatment for her, and her leg muscles drew up, leaving her unable to straighten her leg out. Those pictures of Clyde carrying her? It's because she couldn't walk.
- Many real-life sports. Even the strain of exerting yourself in specific ways will eventually wear your body out even if you aren't suffering obvious damage from such things as being body-checked or tackled or punched.
- Following the 1983 Stanley Cup finals, Wayne Gretzky famously said he walked past the dressing room of the victorious New York Islanders and saw them, not celebrating, but covered in ice packs and lying on benches. Thing is, when they won the first Cup in 1980, only two of the main skaters were over 25. After four years straight going to the finals (with an eventual fifth ending with Gretzky's Oilers winning), the deep playoff runs had taken its toll on those guys!
- Especially tragic with those players who have Chronic Traumatic Encephaolpathy from repeated head trauma, especially concussions. It basically causes the brain to shrink from the damage, and drives the sufferers insane. And it's becoming increasingly evident that CTE is common for players in contact sports.
- Most special forces personnel retire for medical reasons because of their grueling training regimen.
- Military of every country has a LOT of soldiers like this, but especially the US Military, thanks to multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers are either unfit for duty and being medically discharged, or being retained but with significant limits on their ability to serve. Even beyond combat deployments, an infantryman's career spent jumping out of planes, marching for miles with a heavy load, kicking down doors, and such wears on the body. Some manage to transfer to less physical positions, but others find they just can't stay in anymore due to cumulative injuries and wear and tear. This goes double for those in special forces.
- Also, military personnel tend to ignore, cover up, or simply refuse to reveal serious injuries. Sometimes it's because the culture values toughness and ignoring hardship, or because they don't want to let their buddies down by being held back from deploying, or they're sincerely afraid of being medically discharged or retired. It's not unusual for doctors performing a retirement physical on someone who's been in 20 or 30 years to be stunned by the number of health problems they come across, often commenting that the person they're seeing should have been retired a decade or more earlier.
- True story of a military officer who'd been serving for 25 years and who showed up at sick call one morning to be seen for a sore throat. The medical technician checking him in did something that apparently no one had thought to do in years, and printed off an entire list of all his physical problems and impairments and attached them to his sheet for the doctor to review. The doctor greeted the officer, took one look at his list of injuries, and recommended immediate processing for medical retirement. During the retirement physical, it came out that he should have been medically disqualified from his last deployment, but was sent anyway.
- Special forces soldiers. Graduates from training programs where people run significant risks of dying, and then do work so hard they have to find the sort of ultra-dedicated superhuman nutcases to do it by challenging them to The Spartan Way, will naturally have crazy tough men who are fucked beyond repair. There's a reason nobody lasts long in special forces: the Training from Hell selection is just to see if you can even make it.
- Several of the rules in Mixed Martial Arts seem to have the intended effect of mitigating this — for example, the lack of a standing count in MMA as well as referee stoppages (a referee is to stop a fight where a fighter is incapable of or is not "intelligently defending" himself or herself), as well as mandatory medical suspensions (in North American states where the sport is sanctioned). However, as the sport is so young there's only a few fighters who are anywhere near old enough to show this effect... although some of those from the "Dark Ages" of MMA, such as Gary Goodridge, have shown this trope to a disturbing effect.
- Dana White's success in actually getting a health insurance company to cover MMA fighters under contract with the UFC is seen as a triumphant step in mitigating this. Many fighters would actually go into a fight injured so they'd get coverage after the fight was done (UFC already would pay fighters for medical expenses as the result of a fight), which obviously would put them at tremendous risk of aggravating their injuries or gaining new ones as the result of a one-sided beating. But now they can actually be covered for training-related injuries as well, resulting in fighters going into their fight at 100% or as close as possible given the sport, which is a great thing for everyone involved.
- Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den has a lot of its graduates entering the sport as this, due to Training from Hell.
- Jackie Chan had to lower the number of stunts he does himself because of this. As an example, he used a stunt double where he would go over a ten-foot fence in an alleyway. In his younger days, he would simply jump straight over it or jump up to grab the top of the fence and pull himself over. Now, he has to do a series of wall jumps in the corner to do the stunt because he has injured himself so much that his ankles have fused into maybe three bones. Not only that, but Jackie has suffered multiple head injuries. The most recent one involved him falling out of a tree. While he would've been able to tank this as a younger man or even as a child, it has seriously hampered him. In fact, he has suffered so many concussions that doctors have told him that if he suffers one more head injury, he won't just get a concussion, but will be killed on impact or very close to it.
- American daredevil Evel Knievel was renowned for two things: Real Life Ramp Jumps, and being listed in the Guinness World Records for "most bones broken in a lifetime" (433, including seven times for his back alone). Given that the human body contains 206 bones, some of them have been broken multiple times.
- Russian muzhiki (tough guys) who live to become old, given what the cheeki breeki life does to the body on account of the danger posed by brawling (often with current or former soldiers), drinking terrifying amounts of booze, and Alcohol-Induced Idiocy.
- Any professional skydiver, martial arts practitioner, horseback rider, or ice hockey player will get a lot of bruises, breaks, and cuts over time.
- Martial artists that have trained to toughen their knuckles can cause enough remodeling that they are unable to fully extend their fingers anymore.
- Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmeister drank at least one bottle of Jack Daniel's every day (and did this for at least 35 years), he loathed vegetables and lived on a diet of mostly meat and cheese, he was a smoker since he was 11 years old, and he also did copious amounts of drugs (mainly speed). This would catch up with him in his late 60s. He had Type 2 diabetes and had to get a pacemaker in 2013 after his irregular heartbeat forced him to cancel shows. In October 2013, he admitted to quitting smoking and drinking. In 2015, he was forced to cancel several tour dates after a lung infection resulted in difficulty breathing and prevented him from singing, before finally dying from cancer at the end of the year.
- Sue and Trix, the oldest known speciments of T.Rex (Sue was 28 her time of death and Trix was over 30) suffered several injuries and infections during their lifetimes, including broken (and healed) ribs, bite marks and severe infections that caused holes in Sue's skull.
- T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) reached this point at a fairly young age. Between recurring bouts of malaria (which he'd contracted during his Adventurer Archaeologist youth), the injuries he sustained during the Arab Revolt, and surviving a plane crash that left him with a broken rib that never healed properly, he was pretty banged up by his mid-thirties.
- Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are both partially deaf in one ear(opposing ears, as they were facing each other)due to a stunt during their appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; Keith Moon's drumkit was loaded with dynamite, and set to explode at the end of their performance, and, as it turns out, too much was used, causing a bigger, not to mention louder explosion than was intended.