Terry Butcher, the former England captain, has called for heading to be phased out of football in order to end the dementia crisis that is devastating so many former professionals.
Research has shown that former outfield players are four times more likely to suffer neurodegenerative disease as well as changes in brain function after just a short session of heading practice.
The Football Association has introduced guidance which limits professionals to 10 'high-force' headers a week in training but this is not mandatory and there is also concern at the impact of repetitive lower force headers and serious aerial collisions.
A first trial of a match with limited heading took place at Spennymoor Town last Sunday and Butcher, who was renowned for his aerial prowess and famous for playing on after a serious head injury, now wants change.
"Eventually I want to see football have no heading, phase heading out - I think you've got to do it gradually," he told the BBC's The Sports Desk podcast.
"I think you have to be very careful but I think you have to look at safety, you have to look at families losing their loved ones too early. I'd like to see it phased out...I think it's something that we can do without and then it would rule out the trauma of heading a football.
"I would imagine if we're having the same conversation [in] 20 years' time that we are at a stage where football is played on the ground. Yes you have to hit long passes, yes you have to clear the ball high but players will have to bring the ball down quicker and better, their control, their awareness has to be better. They have to adapt."
Butcher suggested injuries sustained in tackles such as "broken legs, cruciate [ligament damage] - you recover from them and you recover very well generally. But you don't recover and you'll never recover from a real huge and heavy brain trauma, huge and heavy brain impact. It's a sobering thought and it's a horrible thought".
Of his own risk, Butcher added: "Well it won't be worrying for me because I won't particularly know, I would have thought, if it does happen…so it's worrying for the family. We've seen pictures of a lot of the footballers of past generations where they've got dementia and Alzheimer's and it breaks your heart."
The FA has called for more research into the issue and pointed to their new heading guidance. "We have made changes to the way the game is played in England," said a spokesperson.
"This includes issuing heading guidance across every level of the English football pyramid. We are also supporting the trial of concussion substitutes.
"Collaboration across football's governing bodies is key in order to better understand this important issue collectively, and we firmly believe that all areas of football should come together for this meaningful cause."