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A coma is Serious Business. After being unconscious for more than a few days, a person's body will atrophy and they will be incredibly weak after coming out of it, often requiring weeks or even months of physical therapy before they can move freely again. Unless you're one of these characters.

For whatever reason, after spending weeks, months, or even decades in a coma or other similar vegetative state, they have no visible weakness whatsoever and are able to carry right on as if they were just asleep for a few hours. May be Justified through Superpowers, magic, or some kind of science Technobabble.

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This can apply to waking up as well, as Comas are often represented as a binary thing, you're either awake or asleep, and in Real Life, coma patients can seem conscious and aware, even while still being alseep. Coma patients also usually just wake up, and while that can happen in Real Life, it rarely does, and coming out of a coma fully is a process that can take some time.

A form of Artistic License – Medicine. Compare and Contrast Resurrection Sickness, Compare Unexplained Recovery.


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Aversion/Subversions

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     Anime and Manga 
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun
    • Averted with Banri Edasaki. She emerges from a long coma, and is still in the hospital in her final appearance in the second season. Her going through physical therapy even ends up indirectly important as it triggers a memory for the main character.
    • Averted for a different reason with the victims of the Level Upper. The ones we were most familiar with were only out for a couple of days at most, and the only one we see immediately afterward was only out for a day (and appeared to spend the rest of that day at the hospital).

     Comic Books 
  • Averted in Justice League of America when Red Tornado acquires a human body by possessing one of Multiplex's extra bodies, which was left comatose. He attempts to get up and nearly falls to the floor.

     Fan Works 
  • Spice Girls RPF work, Astral Journey: It's Complicated, the narrator, Emma, suffers a lot of pain thanks to her injuries thanks to being crushed by a car during a soccer game. The only known body part that suffered the least was her brain thanks to using one of her arms to protect her head. She was more worried about Melanie rather than herself.
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     Film — Live-Action 
  • The Princess Bride averts it. Westley, after being "mostly dead" and revived by Miracle Max through unknown means, is pretty much a boneless ragdoll who barely has the strength to stand for the rest of the film (and is really quite ticked off about it). He is only just strong enough to sit astride a horse for The Big Damn Kiss at the end.
  • Miss March Averts this. Eugene spends most of the movie barely able to walk or even stand under his own power after four years in a coma. He also suffers from Potty Failure several times over the course of the film.

     Literature 
  • Averted in The Quest for Saint Camber: Nigel Haldane is attacked with magic by his eldest son Conall and is comatose for a couple of weeks before anyone can figure out what happened and reverse the effect. Nigel is described as visibly thinner and shortly after he's awakened he's borne on a litter to attend the confrontation with his attacker.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Averted in Titus, where Christopher was so deep in a coma that he was briefly declared brain-dead. While the next season has him fully mobile again, flashbacks show that he went through a long, brutal, and humiliating recovery where he had to re-learn everything from walking to bladder control.
  • Played with somehow on Arrested Development. Buster fakes a coma late in season three and stays in bed for a couple of episodes. He finally reveals his trickery and his nurse runs off in offense. He tries to go after her and the narrator points out that laying in bed for a couple of weeks had caused muscle atrophy. He ends up falling to the floor face-first.

     Visual Novels 
  • Rumbling Hearts. Most of the plot concerns a girl slowly recovering from a coma and her family desperately trying to figure out how to break it to her that she was out for three years and a lot has happened in-between.

     Webcomics 
  • In Aki Alliance, Aki gets into a fight at school and ends up in a coma for two days. She snaps awake instantly, but it's a subversion of this trope because she was actually faking the coma.


Straight Examples

     Anime and Manga 
  • For most of the 2nd half of Corrector Yui, resident Dark Magical Girl, Ai Shinozaki's mother, Azusa was in a coma, thanks to some shenanigans involving the Big Bad. In the final episode, she woke up from her coma and she's shown to be able to move around just as quickly, in real life this woman would be in a wheelchair.
  • In Dr. STONE, anyone who's revived after spending 3700 years Taken for Granite wakes up just fine (as long as their statue is intact), and the revival process even heals injuries and diseases, such as Mirai, who had been medically brain-dead for years before being petrified, wakes up and is fully conscious as soon as she emerges. Tsukasa wasn't even fully out of his stone shell before asking "What's the situation?" and then exploded out of the stone to fight the lions.
  • In The Garden of Sinners, Shiki awakens from her two-year-long coma fit enough to sit up on her own and even try to gouge out her own eyes. A couple days later, she has recovered enough to survive falling out of a third-story window and then fight a superhumanly strong zombie to a draw.

     Fan Works 

     Literature 
  • In Loamhedge, Martha has been paraplegic all her life, but when she abruptly gained use of her legs, they were in perfect shape and apparently not atrophied at all. Possibly justified by the fact that it may have been a mental block all along.

     Live-Action TV 
  • House, M.D. does this in Son of Coma Guy. When discussing the titular "Coma Guy," House mentions that his muscles have "barely atrophied" even after years in a coma, but never elaborates on how that's possible. When he uses a drug to temporarily wake him up, he's seen getting dressed so that he can go and get a sandwich at a place he really likes before the drug wears off and he slips back into a Coma.
  • Justified on Once Upon a Time. Prince Charming ends up in a coma for 28 years after getting caught in the Evil Queen's curse (along with the rest of the kingdom) and in Storybrooke no one's really sure how long he's been in the coma. However time doesn't move under the curse, so he's only really unconscious for no more than a week.
  • Supernatural: The demon known as Ruby tries to ingratiate herself with Sam Winchester, but he rebuffs her (it) on the grounds that if she's not evil anymore, why is she stealing peoples' bodies to interact in the human plane? So the demon leaves the body it's in now and takes a girl who has just died having been in a coma for years. Just as the doctors call her death, she sits up, says "where can I get some fries?" and leaves.
  • Who Are You?: Si-ohn is in a coma for six years after she is knocked unconscious at a police stakeout gone wrong. When she wakes up, she pretty much rolls out of bed and goes back to work as a police officer right away, with no ill effects, except for her I See Dead People problem.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman had both Steve Austin and Jamie Summers wake from their terrible injuries and the surgery that gave them bionic limbs unable to walk or use their new equipment properly, and both shows did go to some effort showing them learning how to walk normally before ramping up to their 60mph running speeds. Neither was in a true coma, but they were unconscious for a long time and would probably have been in one due to the severity of their injuries had the surgery not taken place.
  • In The Flash (2014), Barry ends up in a coma after the accident he suffers at the end of his Arrow two-parter and wakes up to discover that he now has abdominal muscles and is more or less in great health. It's explicitly pointed out that his muscles should have atrophied, but he's seemingly fine aside from the Super Speed he can't keep in control.
  • On The Walking Dead, Rick wakes up from a weeks-long coma; within hours he is slinging around a bag containing 170 pounds of guns and ammo[1], jumping on horses, and riding across Georgia.

     Video Games 
  • Heavy Rain implies this. Ethan Mars is suspected of being the Origami Killer by the police, even though in 2009, the year the killings took place, he was in a six-month-long coma that would have required months of physical therapy afterward. He most likely would have been in no shape to properly move, let alone kidnap children and create elaborate death mazes, until early 2010, well after the killings had begun.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kairi spends most of the game in a catatonic state, but upon coming out of it, she is totally fine, maybe justified, as we never get a sense of how long a period this game takes place over, and also because of Magic.
    • Sora spends a year in a coma between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, and suffers no ill effects except for a slight growth spurt.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Venom Snake is in a coma for nine years. The doctor overlooking him says they've maintained Snake's muscle strength through massage, but his body is still noticeably gaunt and Snake has a lot of trouble relearning to stand.
  • Saints Row 2: The Playa was comatose for five years after Alderman Hughes' yacht was destroyed in 2006. Not only were they able to stand up without collapsing, they almost immediately break out of prison with another inmate who got himself shanked after he caught wind of them being in the medical ward. They also take out a doctor and an untold number of correctional officers along the way.
  • Between the Action Prologue and the game proper in Wolfenstein: The New Order, BJ spends almost a decade and a half comatose. When he starts moving again, he's literally killing Nazis in seconds (as in, his first conscious movement is to steal a scalpel, then use it to stab a Nazi in the neck). He mentions that his legs feel like jelly, but this doesn't affect gameplay at all.

     Western Animation 
  • In Bojack Horseman, Wanda was in a coma for about three decades, but quickly regains full mobility after waking up.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Lampshaded in an episode where a prank by Bart puts Homer in a coma for several weeks. At the end of the episode, Lisa cheerfully tells her father that he lost about 10% of his brain capacity.
    • In "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 2" Mr. Burns is in a coma having been shot, then comes out of it. He's pretty recovered - except the only thing he can say is "Homer Simpson." This leads the police to deduce that Homer must have shot him.

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