"Former England captain Dave Watson has a neurodegenerative disease which his wife Penny believes was most likely brought on by head injuries and repeated heading of the ball."
This is an intriguing arguement. I don't for one second doubt heading the ball tens of thousands of times, brain rattling around in your skull each time, has a cumulatively destructive impact on your brain - nowhere near as severe as a professional boxer getting punched in the face repeatedly but it's the same principle.
That said, if you took Dave Watson to one side aged 15 or 16 and showed him a crystal ball that gave him two options - head the ball and become England Captain but pay the price health wise at 70 or, don't head the ball, walk away from your football career before it has started, and have a lower risk of health issues as a pensioner, would he walk away? Not in a million years.
I run my sons youth team and heading the ball is a massively contentious issue, the boys are not yet teenagers and the majority are too scared to head the ball which puts us at a disadvantage against many teams. It's not the end of the world at this age, but as they progress to 11 a side it becomes a huge issue, not only for the team but for those individuals who have the potential to play at a decent level.