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Physical Disability in Media

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This is an index for works that focus on disabilities. One-shots or disabled guest characters are too numerous, so this index is for works that have a substantive focus on physical disability. No examples that include Throwing Off the Disability please, as this is about the specific experience of being (and staying) disabled.

More specific indexes are Deafness in Media, Autism in Media, and Blindness in Media, so those examples go there, please.

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This index is only for physically disabled characters; see The Mentally Disturbed or Ambiguous Disorder for portrayals of mental illness in fiction.


Examples:

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    Animation 
  • Mechamato: Mara is a major supporting character/main cast member and uses a wheelchair.
  • Nussa: The titular boy wears a prosthetic leg.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Combattler V: Hyoma Aoi got his arms destroyed midway through the story. Him learning to use his Artificial Limbs even becomes his Story Arc.
  • Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks: Son Gohan loses his left arm in a battle against Androids 17 and 18. The following battle cost him his life.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist features Edward Elric, who has a prosthetic arm and leg thanks to horrific amputations at a young age. He even suffers from phantom pains.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Andrew Waltfield loses his right eye and left arm after his battle against protagonist Kira Yamato.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Louise Halevy loses her left hand towards the end of the first season. Her not being able to regrow it (which is possible with the show's technology) becomes an integral plot point leading to Season 2. The original Lockon Stratos also loses his right eye towards the end of the first season, which leads to his death as he's the resident sniper. Another supporting character is revealed to be a cyborg before he dies. Season 2 reveals that Lasse Aeon suffered from a respiratory illness after the Final Battle of Season 1.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run: Protagonist Johnny Joestar was rendered paraplegic in an accident before the events of the story.
  • Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish: The titular Josee (real name Kumiko) has been wheelchair-bound since birth.
  • Naruto: Kakashi Hatake lost an eye in his backstory and got his new one (the one with the Sharingan) transplanted to him by a friend of his, but it wouldn't be revealed until much later in the story. Jiraya loses his left arm and got his throat pierced before dying. The titular protagonist and his rival Sasuke Uchiha respectively lose their right and left arms after their Final Battle. Both were grafted Artificial Limbs in the epilogue, though Sasuke opts not to have them.
    • Boruto: The Sequel Series starring Naruto's son. In this series, Naruto is now the Big Good while Sasuke is the new protagonist's mentor.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Arc Big Bad Shishio Makoto is a burn survivor. One of his lieutenants, Fuuji, has Gigantism.
  • Texhnolyze: The main premise of the show is centered around creating artificial limbs, and whether Cybernetics Eat Your Soul is teased a lot.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Arthur Curry (Aquaman II) had the skin and muscle of his left hand devoured in a sea of piranhas by Charybdis, resulting in him getting a hook and later a crystal transparent hand to replace it.
  • Batgirl: Barbara Gordon dropped her Batgirl identity and took the "Oracle" moniker after becoming paraplegic.
    • Birds of Prey: The most tenured story of Barbara as Oracle, co-leading the titular team with Black Canary.
    • The Killing Joke: The story where the Joker paralyzed Barbara Gordon after shooting her.
    • The Oracle Code: An alternate universe where Barbara gets shot and becomes Oracle before ever donning the Batgirl costume or graduating in high-school.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Green Arrow lost his left arm in a past battle against Superman.
  • Cyborg: Car crash survivor whose destroyed boy parts are replaced with mechanical ones (Depending on the Writer, it's an Organic Technology from a thing called Motherbox).
  • Dollicious: The cast include the Tea family, a family of four sisters, all being deaf.
  • Doom Patrol: Founder Niles Caulder is paraplegic. Larry Trainor is a burn survivor with a living energy now inhabiting him due to the accident. Cliff Steele's entire body is destroyed and his brain is placed in a robotic body.
  • Emilka Sza: The character of Natalia is blind, while Emily can't talk (she however can hear).
  • Kingdom Come: Batman is now required to wear an exoskeleton due to past injuries.
  • Morbius: The title character is suffering from a blood disease.
  • New Mutants: One of the original members, Karma, lost her left leg after it was impaled by Cameron Hodge with his metal pincer blades, resulting in her getting a new prosthetic leg.
  • Venom (Remender & Bunn): Flash Thompson loses both his legs after serving in the military and becoming the host of the Venom symbiote gives him legs as long as he's bonded with it.
  • The Walking Dead: Protagonist Rick Grimes loses his right hand during the Prison Arc. Rick would later suffer a leg injury that permanently hinders his walking. Dale gets his left foot severed due to a Life or Limb Decision. His remaining leg would later be eaten by cannibals. Rick's mutilator, The Governor, gets Laser-Guided Karma when he loses his right arm, dick, and left eye.
  • X-Men: Founder Charles Xavier is paraplegic.
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    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • All The Rage: Romy never explicitly says what happened, but her beloved stepfather Todd suffers from constant back and leg problems after getting in a car accident as a teenager.
  • Are You Alone on Purpose?: The Love Interest is paraplegic because of a diving accident.
  • Born on the Fourth of July (and the film based on the book): Ron Kovic comes back from Vietnam paralyzed from the waist down.
  • Cormoran Strike Novels: Cormoran lost a leg in Afghanistan and wears a prosthesis.
  • Dawnshard: One of the main characters is Rysn, who is paralyzed from the waist down. And a large part of the novella is devoted to her dealing with her disability, trying to improve her life, being in touch with other, similarly disabled people in other places.
  • Defying Doomsday and its followup Rebuilding Tomorrow are anthologies about disabled and chronically ill protagonists in post-apocalyptic scenarios.
  • Some of the Earth's Children books have significant characters who are disabled, and explore how this affects them and those close to them in the prehistoric setting.
    • In The Clan of the Cave Bear, a major character is Creb, who was born physically frail, then lost an eye and arm and has a limp due a cave bear attack. Because he couldn't hunt, he became the clan's shaman. He is also Ayla's surrogate father, who empathizes with her feelings of being an outsider. Although Creb dies in the first book, he continues to appear to Ayla in dreams and visions in the sequels, looking as he did in life.
    • In The Valley of Horses, a major character is Jetamio, Thonolan's love interest who had seizures that resulted in partial paralysis; although she recovered much of her mobility she still has a limp. Her condition is implied to play a role in her miscarriages and eventual death in childbirth, which has long-lasting effects on the characters.
    • In The Mammoth Hunters, a major character is a young boy named Rydag, who struggles with a congenital heart defect that prevents him from being as physically active. He also can't talk verbally, though this is technically because he's half-Neanderthal (who in this series cannot vocalize as well as modern humans). Ayla treats his heart with medicine, and teaches him and the rest of the camp the Clan's sign language so Rydag can communicate.
  • The Final Girl Support Group: One of the other final girls is Julia, who is quadriplegic since she pushed her would-be killer out of a window.
  • Freak the Mighty: Freak, one of the main characters, wears braces on his legs and uses crutches to walk.
  • Handle with Care is about a young girl with dehabilitating osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • Heidi: Major supporting character Klara Sesemann is wheelchair-bound.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo, the title character, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, in addition to being one eyed and deaf.
  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart: Grace Hoover is a major character, she being a close friend and mother figure to central protagonist Kerry McGrath, and wife of Kerry's father figure Jonathan Hoover. Grace often uses a wheelchair and needs physical assistance due to arthritis. She ends up being integral to the story's resolution, with her disability also playing a part in this.
  • Lincoln Rhyme: The titular protagonist was paralyzed from the neck down following a freak accident and solves crimes with the help of his able-bodied partner Amelia Sachs (she does the leg work and gathers evidence while he pieces things together from home).
  • The Lord of the Rings: Main protagonist Frodo Baggins loses his ring finger near the end of the story.
  • Misery: Paul spends most of the book and film in a terrible state because of his smashed-up legs. Annie then cuts off one of his feet (or, in the book, she smashes it so badly that it needs to be amputated).
  • Moby-Dick: Captain Ahab lost his leg to the titular whale.
  • Out of My Mind: The main character has cerebral palsy.
  • The Pinballs: Harvey is disabled after his drunk driver father ran over both his legs.
  • The Return of the Condor Heroes: Protagonist Yang Guo loses his right arm (though few adaptations switches to the left due to casting right-handed actors) third quarter into the story.
  • Small Steps: Ginny, a major supporting character and the protagonist's neighbor, is a girl with cerebral palsy.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Bran Stark becomes paraplegic after being pushed out of a tower. Both Varys and Grey Worm are eunuchs, meaning they have no penis. Sandor Clegane has half of his face burned. Davos Seaworth is missing all fingers from his left hand. Qhorin Halfhand is dubbed as such due to missing half his fingers. Jaime Lannister loses his right hand. Theon Greyjoy loses his penis and some of his fingers and toes. Jon Connington has Greyscale. Euron Greyjoy is missing an eye.
  • Thérèse Raquin: Major supporting character Mrs. Raquin is progressively afflicted by a sort of locked-in syndrome.
  • Treasure Island: Long John Silver, the main antagonist, is missing a leg.
  • Warrior Cats: There are several sub-plots in which major supporting characters are gravely injured and must learn how to deal with their new disability, such as Cinderpelt whose leg is crippled badly enough that she can't become a warrior, Brightheart who loses an eye and an ear, and Briarlight whose hindlegs are permanently paralyzed.
  • When My Heart Joins the Thousand: Deuteragonist Stanley has osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • Young Jedi Knights (Star Wars Legends): One of the eponymous young Jedi knights, Tenel Ka Djo, loses an arm in the explosion of her lightsaber the making of which she botched, and she decides not to replace it with a robotic arm.

    Live-Action TV 

    Theatre 
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    Video Games 
  • Backyard Sports: Kenny Kawaguchi is a boy in a wheelchair.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: Two party members have notable handicaps. Barret Wallace has a severed right arm that was grafted with an Arm Cannon (or other short-ranged weapons depending on the player), while Nanaki aka Red XIII is missing his right eye.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Ward Zabac becomes mute following the second flashback sequence.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Princess Garnet is originally from the summoner race and her horn is removed to make her appear more human.
    • Final Fantasy X: Auron is missing his left eye and Khimari has a broken horn.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Lester Crest is asthmatic, has a wasting disease that leaves him wheelchair bound, and can only walk short distances with a cane.
  • Mass Effect: A number of notable main characters are physically disabled. Joker has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone syndrome), Tali — and her entire species — is immunocompromised, Thane has a chronic lung disease that's slowly killing him, and Kaidan had chronic migraines.
  • Metal Gear series
  • Mortal Kombat: Jackson "Jax" Briggs has a pair of prosthetic arms.
  • Sly Cooper: Bentley utilizes a wheelchair after getting paralyzed at the end of the second game and remains that way afterward.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Big Bad Friend and Evil Mentor Otto Octavius is beginning to suffer the first stages of ALS, which is why he clings to his robotic limbs. Harry Osborn is also suffering from a genetic disease that renders him catatonic on a lifetube.
  • Suikoden III: Geddoe, one of the five main protagonists, is missing his right eye.

    Visual Novels 
  • C14 Dating: Hendrik has a prothestic arm after having lost a hand in an accident. It's the kind that has a mostly cosmetic removable hand with a more functional Hook Hand underneath.
  • Katawa Shoujo is about a physically disabled young man finding a Disabled Love Interest after transferring to a Boarding School specializing in taking care of disabled students.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Yang Xiao Long uses a prosthetic arm from Volume 4 onward after losing it in a fight.

    Webcomics 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatian Street: One of the puppies uses a wheelchair.
  • Biker Mice from Mars: All three protagonists. Throttle is visually impaired, the right side of Vinnie's face has a metal plate suggesting an injury, and Modo has both a robotic right arm and a missing left eye.
  • DuckTales (2017): Della Duck has a prosthetic leg in place of one she had to amputate.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters: One of the protagonists, Garrett Miller, is paraplegic.
  • Family Guy: Quahog police officer Joe Swanson uses a wheelchair.
  • John Callahan's Quads!: The protagonist is quadriplegic and the main cast includes other physically disabled characters; the show's creator was himself rendered quadriplegic in an accident and used the show as a way of expressing his own thoughts on being physically disabled.
  • The Legend of Korra: One of the main antagonists in Season 3 in an armless waterbender. She uses said skill to create makeshift octopus-like Artificial Limbs.
  • Pelswick: Starring a protagonist who uses a wheelchair; created by the same guy as John Callahan's Quads! for much the same reason.
  • The Rubbish World of Dave Spud: The main character's sister uses a wheelchair.
  • South Park: Timmy uses a motorized wheelchair, while Jimmy walks with crutches.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Shiro has a prosthetic right arm in place of one that was amputated when he was a prisoner of war in the Galra Empire. Unsurprisingly, he was battling a muscle illness prior to said events.

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