Lache Seastrunk rushed for more than 1,000 yards in both of his seasons as Baylor’s running back. He was also a standout track athlete, recording a personal best 100-meter dash time of 10.33 seconds (while still in high school). On December 1, 2012, the unranked Baylor Bears upset 23rd ranked Oklahoma State, thanks in part to Seastrunk’s toughness: grinding out a 76-yard touchdown run while suffering a quad cramp. The injury left him unable to return.
6. Michael Chang
Michael Chang took part in perhaps the most memorable French Open match of all time. Only 17 years old, he entered his 4th round match against Ivan Lendl as a heavy underdog. Lendl was the reigning Australian Open champ, three-time French Open winner, and the world’s #1 ranked player. Down two sets to zero, Chang started experiencing terrible leg cramps, which persisted throughout the match. In an attempt to confuse Lendl, Chang even resorted to the now infamous underhand serve. Despite the muscle cramps, Chang rallied back to win the match, and went on to win the 1989 French Open in his next match
5. Matthew Dellavedova
In Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova was given the unfortunate task of guarding Stephen Curry. The task took it’s toll. Following the game, Dellavedova experienced muscle cramps so severe that he had to be taken to the hospital. Despite receiving an IV to aid in the hydration process, Dellavedova was carted out of the arena on a stretcher. Read the full story here
4. Cory Schneider
Hockey players have rightfully earned a reputation for being tough. It is not a common occurrence to see a player leave the game and not return, which is what makes goalie Cory Schneider’s leg cramp so surprising. In Game 6 of the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Schneider suffered a cramp so severe while stopping a 3rd period penalty shot that he had to be taken out of the game and was unable to return. If a hockey player is coming out, especially during the playoffs, you know it must be painful. See the video here
3. Caroline Wozniacki
In the 2009 WTA Championships held in Doha, Qatar, Caroline Wozniacki fought through terrible cramps to win her quarter-final matchup against Vera Zvonereva. As temperatures reached almost 90-degrees, Wozniacki iced her legs, called for massages from her trainer, and invoked the “heat rule” in attempts to ward off cramps. However, just four points from the end of the match, the cramps struck, as Wozniacki’s leg cramped up, followed by cramping and twitching throughout her body.
2. LeBron James
Perhaps the most notorious episode of muscle cramping occurred last year, during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals. LeBron James, the best basketball player in the world, suffered leg cramps so severe that, not only was he forced to leave in the 4th quarter, he had to be physically carried to the bench. LeBron had also experienced less severe cramping earlier in the game, which kept him out for several minutes. His team, the Miami Heat, lost the game.
1. Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham
The worst muscle cramps in recent sporting history happened during the 1997 Ironman World Championships. Notoriously known as “The Crawl”, Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham gave it everything they had to finish the race, fighting through fatigue and leg and body cramps. The video speaks for itself.
Honorable Mention: Rafael Nadal
Although it didn't happen on the court, Rafael Nadal battled through an intense leg cramp during an interview after his 2011 US Open match. It is not uncommon for muscle cramps can strike up to several hours after physical activity and last for several minutes. In this clip, you can see the pain that Nadal is in, for almost three minutes, as he stops the interview, crawls out of his chair, and lies on the ground until it passes.