by Tom Avril
Six years ago, Justin Vigile and his mother were making plans for his funeral. Those discussions turned out to be extremely premature, as Vigile, now 28, underwent a rare heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic — turning him from bedridden invalid back into a promising heavy-metal musician. After producers at NFL Films heard about his story and listened to the music of his band, Extractus, they invited the group to contribute music during the season for segments on ESPN’s NFL Matchup and Showtime’s Inside the NFL.
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Context: Four years ago, at age 23, Justin Vigile was living out his dream as the drummer for the progressive heavy metal band Extractus. His band was gaining momentum, but his heart was losing steam. That threatened to end his budding music career, and for a time, Justin's life also hung in the balance. Justin was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at age 15. The genetic condition causes the muscles of the heart to thicken, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. In some people the thickened heart muscle can cause shortness of breath, chest pain or problems in the heart's electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms. Justin had an implantable defibrillator placed in his chest. He went on to pursue his dream and, according to his band's website, Extractus was "ripping through the local scene" in Philadelphia after making its debut in December 2012. You can read more about Justin's journey in this Mayo Clinic in the Loop story.
Contact: Traci Klein