“UP go the heads” – one of the favourite phrases, along with “what a stramash!” of the late, legendary Scottish football commentator Arthur Montford.

But it’s one which might just pass into history if new guidance from the Scottish Youth FA (SYFA) outlawing the practice of having the youngest players head the ball in training spreads its wings to the wider game.

We report elsewhere this week that Helensburgh Football Club’s chairman, Paul Campbell, has mixed feelings about the move.

On the one hand, Paul is up for anything that sees young players encouraged to keep the ball on the ground.

READ MORE: Helensburgh FC chairman reacts to new rule change on heading the ball

And, having watched endless lower league Scottish matches in which no-one seems to have any idea what to do when Plan A – otherwise known as “punt the ball up the park and hope for the best” – fails, I can only sympathise with that view.

But as Paul says, heading the ball is, and always has been, an integral part of football, and any supporter will have difficulty imagining a form of the game in which it isn’t.

The research found that former footballers are three-and-a-half times more likely to die as a result of neurodegenrative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

I admire the thoroughness of their work, but some questions remain. How do you measure how often a footballer heads the ball during an average playing career, for instance?

And any truly conclusive study would also have to set out how many footballers did not end up suffering from a neurodegenerative condition. Or how the rate of such conditions among ex-footballers compares with the rate among those who used to lay bricks, or model clothes, or edit newspapers for a living, for example.

READ MORE: Helensburgh coach urges his team to cut out the mistakes after Westerlands loss

Despite what certain old grumps might have you believe, an approach to sport which puts players’ health and safety first is not to be sneered at, though it doesn’t always have the desired result. Young rugby and shinty players have to wear head protection, for example.

But that approach doesn’t always have the desired result. More padding doesn’t necessarily mean you can enter into heavy physical contact without a thought for your own safety, although anyone watching the recent Rugby World Cup might have trouble believing that point.

And sport, no matter how much you do to make it safe, will always be risky. Just ask Andre Gomes, the Everton player who suffered a horrific ankle injury during his team’s match with Tottenham last weekend, or the family of Anthoine Hubert, the young Formula 2 racing driver killed in a crash at the Spa circuit in Belgium in August.

Does that mean we shouldn’t take measures to try and protect our young footballers? Well, no. And Paul Campbell and I will not be the only ones hoping that banning heading the ball among our youngest players may reap rewards on the park as well as off it.

READ MORE: Click here to read all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines