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For context, I'm currently working on a short story series centered on a young man living in a dystopian America. This U.S. government keeps its 'undesirables' in medically-induced comas (long story why), and my protagonist is rescued from a prison facility by the resistance after spending seven months in a comatose state on a bed.

I've been researching the effects of how lack of exercise for extended periods of time, but I was wondering something: how long would it take for an average human being to fully recover from muscle atrophy caused by a 7-month-long coma?

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    $\begingroup$ If it's a movie, it's about 5 seconds less than the time needed for the bad guys to discover he's gone and catch up to him. In real life...rendering a guess in comments rather than spending an hour researching it...probably 2-4 months to get back basic functionality like walking without assistance and doing activities of daily living. Maybe a year to get back to 90% functionality. But some damage might be permanent and full muscle strength could take longer. The fact that he's young helps a lot though. I'm guessing based on my knowledge of disability and injury recovery. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole May 4 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ To support what @Cyn, in Kill Bill the protagonist awakes from a few years coma and is able to barehanded kill a chubby male within seconds, and drive a car within minutes. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica May 4 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyn That ought to be an answer, IMO. It matches my own experience of muscle loss due to injury (months to recover - and rushing it can cause other problems). On the flip side you can (I am informed by my physios) lose muscle in a small number of days of (non-coma) inactivity. Out of those chairs people ! :-) $\endgroup$ – StephenG May 4 at 6:52
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG Yeah it was based on my own recovery from surgery and from a muscle rupture. Plus watching other people. I didn't make it an answer because I didn't feel comfortable doing that without doing some research. I've got a dance performance today (with a sick child and rehearsals all week) so maybe in the next few days if no one else has beaten me to it. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole May 4 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Hard to Kill by Bruce Malmuth (1990), with Steven Seagal. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 4 at 20:08
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That would probably take along time as someone who experienced a lower leg atrophy it took 1 1/2 months of physical theropy to solve yet there is still lingering damage from it weakness and pain that will last the rest of my life. So given my own thing its possible a long coma like that could take a year or slightly more they're PTing their entire body which takes time and a lot of effort some parts might work better then others like they may always be 90 - 97% weaker in the arms then the legs or something.

This all assumes these rescuers want to spend so much time on an invalid remember they didn't get basic pt in bed so they shouldn't be able to move anything at all no matter how hard they try. The rescuers need equipment, trainers, and know how to fix all of that considering you want him to be as good as he could be as he will most likely not be 100% anymore.

This person I'd imagine was also neglected if malnourishment isn't also an issue deficiencies in vitamins might be which can cause a host of issues including organs not working properly. There also might be anxiety mental or physical or both. A physical anxiety is body pains, weakness, breathing issues all with little to no cause striking really a ton of things.

This person also has trust issues are these people really the good guys? They have kidnapped him from the other but that doesn't mean they're doing it for noble reasons.

There is also the uncertainty of where is his family I'm assuming he as people also deemed undesirables? What if he decides to not work with the people who saved him until they're released how important is he to their effort? Does his rescue and recovery time justify who he is and what he's expected to do in return? Like I got why Shepard was rescued even though the science was flimsy but I thought it was too soon a revival and being the symbol for humanity kind of sounded like a lame excuse for an undoubtedly godly expensive project.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yep, it's been like 3 years since I tore my left calf muscle and that leg got noticeably smaller after 2 months on crutches. It's still noticeably smaller! $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole May 4 at 16:10

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