Yippee-Ki … Youch!

Nearing 60, ‘Die Hard’ hero John McClane has got to be hurting

February 15, 2013

“Die Hard’s” John McClane in action: At least he didn’t leave his turn signal blinking.

The “Die Hard” movies — the fifth of which, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” opened Thursday — have shown audiences the importance of never giving up (as well as the power of a well-timed “yippee-ki-yay”). Everyday hero John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, has fought off terrorists of all stripes, and he’s done it with no superpowers and little help from actual authority figures.

That’s got to be getting hard: Detective McClane is only a couple of years away from the big 6-0. Should someone who’s eligible to order off a Denny’s senior menu really be doing all this leaping and rappelling and shooting and climbing?

“There is no reason not to be active until the day you die,” hard or otherwise, says Josh Bross, a sports chiropractor who practices in Columbia and Laurel, Md. “I see no reason to stop.”

Part of McClane’s advantage is that, as a cop, he’s stayed active over the years. “You don’t want to be sedentary and then decide you want to go play a football game if you haven’t done that in years,” says Sharene Gordon, a physical therapist at Calvert County Nursing Center in Prince Frederick, Md. “If he’s been sitting on the couch watching television, he’s at risk for pulling a muscle or breaking a bone or causing damage to joints or ligaments.”

If McClane came to her for treatment, Anne-Marie Gallant, a certified advanced Rolfer practicing in Fredericksburg, Va., would want to know exactly how many times McClane has fallen down an elevator shaft. “Our bodies carry our history,” she says. “Unaddressed, the legacy of traumas and poor usage takes its toll.”

Rolfing Structural Integration, a hands-on (and elbows-on) treatment in which the practitioner stretches, rubs and puts pressure on the patient, is intended to treat not only acute injuries (say, getting punched in the face repeatedly), but also other injuries accrued over a lifetime, Gallant says. The more layers of injury, the tougher they are to treat.

“The big problem as you get older is when your body breaks down, it doesn’t heal as quickly,” Bross says. And McClane’s habit of working through the pain won’t help, Gordon says. “[He’s] at risk for causing long-term damage,” she says. “By not allowing the body to heal itself, you’re creating injury on top of injury.”

So before McClane comes back for “Never Say Die Harder Some More Again,” he should take time to recharge his batteries. Including those in his mobility scooter.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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