• SPRINGING INTO ACTION: A group of superheroes visited patients at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston yesterday. Pamela Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • Maggie Mendonca 1, of East Bridgewater says hello to Spider-Man (Chris Doherty). Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • (Charlestown, MA 08/01/17) Michael Sassine, dressed as Clark Kent in all smile as the super heroes enter the room. Boston Comic Con Cosplayers visit Spaulding Rehabilitation for a Super Hero party. The cosplayers visit the children's floor. August 01, 2017 Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • (Charlestown, MA 08/01/17) Keion Manley, 9 with his mother by his side looks up at Spider-Man (Chris Doherty). Boston Comic Con Cosplayers visit Spaulding Rehabilitation for a Super Hero party. The cosplayers visit the children's floor. August 01, 2017 Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • Pamela Barnard, left, accompanies her grandson Bradin Dingwell, 11, as he meets Batman. Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • (Charlestown, MA 08/01/17) Boston Comic Con Cosplayers visit Spaulding Rehabilitation for a Super Hero party. The cosplayers visit the children's floor. Matches Malone dressed as Batman says hello to Angelle, 8 months. August 01, 2017 Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • (Charlestown, MA 08/01/17) Boston Comic Con Cosplayers visit Spaulding Rehabilitation for a Super Hero party. The cosplayers visit the children's floor. Pamela Barnard accompanies her Grandson Bradin Dingwell, 11 of South Berlin Maine as he waves to Batman, Matches Malone. Bradin suffers from a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car in May. August 01, 2017 Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

  • (Charlestown, MA 08/01/17) Boston Comic Con Cosplayers visit Spaulding Rehabilitation for a Super Hero party. The cosplayers visit the children's floor. Pamela Barnard accompanies her Grandson Bradin Dingwell, 11 of South Berlin Maine as he waves to Batman, Matches Malone. Bradin suffers from a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car in May. August 01, 2017 Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi.

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Only two months ago, Bradin Dingwell was an 11-year-old Renaissance boy: He read comic books, swam like a fish, had built a treehouse, was learning to play guitar and wanted to learn French.

But all of that changed in a single, terrible instant in May when he was hit by a car as he skateboarded on a quiet street in South Portland, Maine.

The accident left him with a traumatic brain injury that one doctor there predicted would leave him in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.

But yesterday, as he sat in a wheelchair at Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, his grandmother, Pamela Barnard, could see a glimmer of his old self when Batman, Spider-Man and a menagerie of other superheroes swooped into the children’s ward.

“When Bradin saw the characters, I could see him trying to focus on something of his past coming back to him,” Barnard said after the boy suddenly lifted his head, his eyes widening, as Batman said hello.

“They were wonderful, familiar faces,” she added.

Matches Malone, who has been playing the Caped Crusader for 24 years, said he instantly agreed when he was asked to visit.

“If you can distract someone in a situation like his, that’s nothing but positive,” said Malone, a member of CausePlay New England, a group of volunteers who dress up as characters for hospital visits and charity events. “These kids are the real heroes.”