When I was 11 I briefly received some professional football coaching - that is, some coaching from an ex-professional player. Ian Husband was his name, dad of my football-mad friend Hamish, and he had made a living playing for Scottish teams, including Airdrieonians.
The impromptu sessions with Hamish and his younger brother Scott took place on our local common and involved a particular focus on how to head the ball properly – keep your eyes on the ball, make contact with the middle of your forehead, practise flicking it on from both sides.
There was also a brief teach-in for my benefit, as a youthful defender, on how to lean into the back of an opponent as you jumped for the ball to….er…degrade his opportunity of making contact. It fell squarely into the category of "How to Foul Without Actually Getting Caught", and it felt excitingly illicit.
My footballing fantasies were of the usual kind - swerving past opponents, last-ditch tackles, hitting the ball into the top corner of the net, assuming one ever got to play with actual nets.
But they also involved scoring from a near-post flicked header in the manner then being managed to telling effect by my West Ham United and England heroes Geoff Hurst and the late lamented Martin Peters. I can still remember the joy of managing to do this once in a junior school match - although sadly there were no nets on the goalposts. Nothing is perfect.
Anyway, here is the thing. According to BBC Scotland, the Scottish Football Association are on the brink of banning under-12 players from heading the ball in the wake of the University of Glasgow report released last October which that found former professional players are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of degenerative brain disease.
The research was hailed by campaigners on the issue including the relatives of the late West Bromwich Albion and England forward Jeff Astle, whose death in 2002 as a result of a degenerative brain disease caused a coroner to record a verdict of death by industrial injury as a result of the repeated minor trauma of heading footballs that, back in the day, where made of porous leather and became even heavier in wet conditions.
In the same year it was claimed by a neurosurgeon that Astle had died as a result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease previously associated with boxers.
The ground-breaking University of Glasgow survey involved comparing the deaths of 7,676 ex-players to 23,000 from the general population. The sample was taken from men who played professional football in Scotland between 1900 and 1976.
Dr Willie Stewart reported that "risk ranged from a five-fold increase in Alzheimer's disease, through an approximately four-fold increase in motor neurone disease, to a two-fold increase in Parkinson's disease in former professional footballers compared to population controls".
Regarding the imminent action of the Scottish FA, their own doctor, John MacLean, who was part of the Glasgow survey team, has said that while the link between heading footballs and brain trauma is not indisputably established, pragmatic action needs to be taken.
Gordon Smith, former chief executive of the Scottish FA, welcomed the proposed ban and told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that young players could still be taught heading techniques safely if they used lighter balls.
"We should be using plastic balls so that the young players could get the technique without having to head the ball," he said. "They'll be told that heading is part of the game as they come through, but they don't have to be heading the big balls immediately.
"They're better [off] using a softball so they actually develop the technique, but there's no effect on them for later days."
U.S, Soccer was forced to change its rules over heading the ball when a group of players and parents in California filed a class-action lawsuit.
This led to the United States Soccer Federation ruling that as from January 1, 2016, players aged 10 or younger would be prohibited from heading the ball and the practice would be greatly reduced for those aged between 11 and 13.
The case would appear to be made - but the Football Association in England, for one, has told the BBC that its position on the issue remains unchanged, maintaining that there is "no evidence to suggest that heading should be banned in youth football" and adding that it is "significantly less common in children's games than people often think".
So there is the first problem as the game addresses what appears to be a crucial health issue in future years - how many governing bodies are going to buy into it? Is it going to become a sporting version of the ongoing debate between those who believe in the perils created by global warming and those who refuse to accept that premise?
The second problem, having established the link, is how should the sliding scale be applied? What level of contact should be deemed appropriate and safe for older teenagers? And is there any thinking required in the area of new football design to mitigate against ill effects among senior players?
Football is one of a number of sports facing a particular challenge in terms of the wellbeing of its exponents. Rugby Union has been working diligently on modifying its laws on tackling, and sharpening up its protocols regarding head injuries. Boxing has also been obliged to consider its options for ensuring relative safety for fighters, although there will always remain a strong lobby against a sport that has violent contact as its key element.
But for football, heading is such an intrinsic - and beautiful - element of the game that it is hard to think of it disappearing. It is a big and potentially intractable problem. Maybe sports technology - currently causing a rumpus with regard to the Nike Vaporfly running shoe - can be brought to bear more effectively in terms of football manufacturing.
Liam Morgan will return next week