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CNBC Excerpt: Former NHL Player Jeremy Roenick Talks Concussions on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Today

WHEN: TODAY, WEDNESDAY, December 2, 2015

WHERE: CNBC'S "SQUAWK BOX"

Following is an excerpt from the unofficial of a CNBC interview with former NHL player Jeremy Roenick today on CNBC's "Squawk Box." Following is a link to video of the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000461562.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

ROENICK: AS A KID, I GREW UP WANTING TO PLAY IN THE NHL. I WANTED TO BE IN FRONT OF THE FANS. I WANTED TO ELECTRIFY PEOPLE, SIGN AUTOGRAPHS, I KNEW THE INHERENT DANGERS WERE AND WHAT YOU TALK ABOUT . WE ALWAYS KNEW IT'S A PHYSICAL SPORT. CONCUSSIONS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN. THEY ARE GOING TO HAPPEN WHETHER YOU'RE AT THE HOUSE AND FALL DOWN OR WALK ACROSS THE STREET, HIT WITH A BIKE, YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN A CONCUSSIONS GOING TO COME, BUT YOU'RE RIGHT, IT'S WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE THEM, HOW YOU TREAT THEM, AND NOW THE NHL AND NFL, THEY KNOW ABOUTCONCUSSIONS. BACK IN THE EIGHTS WHEN ALL THESE GUYS THAT PLAYED THAT ARE SUING THEM NOW THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, WE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT CONCUSSIONS. THE LEAGUE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT CONCUSSIONS OR THE LASTING EFFECTS OF CONCUSSIONS, SO FOR ME TO GO BACK AND SUE THE LEAGUE THAT YOU DREAMT ABOUT BEING IN, THE LEAGUE THAT ALLOWED YOU TO MAKE A GOOD SALARY, PLAY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, BE A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, AND NOW YOU TURN AROUND AND SUE THEM BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU THINK IS LACK OF JUDGMENT? WE ALL HAD LACK OF JUDGMENT. NOW IT'S A BETTER TIME WHERE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT CONCUSSIONS, TREATING THEM RIGHT, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN.

CARUSO-CABRERA: WERE YOU APPROACHED TO JOIN? DID YOU TALK TO ANY OF THE PLAYERS THAT ARE SUING?

ROENICK: I WAS, ABSOLUTELY OF THE I GOT PHONE CALLS, LETTERS IN THE MAIL, AND EVERY TIME, I SAID I THINK I WOULD BE LIKE A HYPOCRITE IF I WENT BACK AND SUED THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE. I'M PROUD OF WHAT I DID.

SORKIN: HAVE YOU GOTTEN IN DEBATES WITH OTHER PLAYERS ABOUT THIS?

ROENICK: ABSOLUTELY.

SORKIN: WHAT DO THEY SAY?

ROENICK: THAT THEY KNEW ABOUT THE CONCUSSIONS, THEY PRESSURED YOU BACK IN, AND –

SORKIN: RIGHT. GAVE YOU PAIN -- THE STORIES IS THE DOCTORS KNEW THERE WAS PROBLEMS, GAVE ALL SORTS OF PAINKILLERS TO GET YOU BACK ON THE ICE.

ROENICK: ALL IN ALL, IT'S YOUR DECISION AS A HUMAN BEING TO KNOW WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL GOOD AND YOU FEEL GOOD. WHETHER YOU PLAY OR DON'T PLAY. YEAH, YOU WANT YOUR JOB, BUT, ALSO YOUR HEALTH. YOU MAKE THE DECISION TO GO BACK AND PLAY, REGARDLESS IF THE TEAM OR DOCTORS PRESSURE YOU TO PLAY LIKE THE GUYS ARE SAYING THEY DID BACK IN THE 80S.

SORKIN: YOU THINK THE LEAGUES KNEW MORE THAN THEY LET ON? THAT'S THE OTHER PIECE OF IT. IT'S NOT JUST THIS TOOK PLACE AND THEY KNEW NOTHING, BUT THE ARGUMENT IS THEY DID HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THIS.

ROENICK: I DON'T THINK SO. I REALLY DON'T. THE CONCUSSION ASPECT HAS REALLY COME IN THE FOREFRONT SINCE THE MID NINETIES WHERE WE STARTED REALLY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE BRAIN COULD GET A DISEASE FROM THESE CONTACTS, SO, NO, I DON'T BELIEVE THAT. I DO BELIEVE THAT NFL AND NHL ARE ROUGH SPORTS. THEY ARE WARRIOR-LIKE SPORT, AND THEY -- IT'S ABOUT GETTING BACK INTO THE GAME. PLAYING HURT.

KERNEN: SO YOUR JAW. YOU BROKE – WHEN YOU GOT HIT WITH THE SLAP SHOT, HOW MANY BONES BROKE?

ROENICK: I HAD TWENTY THREE, TWENTY FOUR BREAKS THAT SHATTERED ALL OVER. RIGHT HERE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.

KERNEN: IN THE JAW. THEN YOU GOT THAT FIXED AND THEN SOMEONE GAVE YOU A SHOULDER IN THE JAW. AND HOW MANY BREAKS THAT TIME?

ROENICK: THAT WAS FOUR BREAKS RIGHT AFTER THAT.

KERNEN: FOUR BREAKS. SO YOU HAVE ANY ACTUAL BONE THAT YOU WERE BORN WITH IN YOUR JAW? IS IT MOSTLY STEEL?

ROENICK: I ACTUALLY – MY JAW IS TITANIUM FROM HERE TO HERE. AND YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT TOO MUCH FEELING IN MY CHIN. BUT YEAH, IT'S –

KERNEN: AND YOUR OWN RECORD – AND YOUR PENALTY POINTS, WHICH I WASN'T GOING TO BRING UP, BUT THEY ALREADY BROUGHT IT UP. YOU PLAYED TOUGH. AND GUYS PLAY TOUGH NOW, BUT YOU HAD THE IDEA THAT YOU DIDN'T USE THE WORD PANSY. I THINK I CAN USE PANSY. BUT YOU THINK A LOT OF THE GUYS ARE PANSIES NOW. THEY DROP THEIR GLOVES IMMEDIATELY. THEY ARE READY TO – THEY ARE LIKE SOCCER PLAYERS.

ROENICK: YOU KNOW WHAT, I THINK THE GAME HAS BECOME A LITTLE BIT SOFTER, AND IT'S SOFTER BECAUSE WHEN I CAME IN THE LEAGUE IN THE 80'S WE WERE MAKING 95,000, 100,000. AND WAYNE GRETSKY WAS THE HIGHEST PAID PLAYER AT 750, WHICH IS CRAZY IN TERMS OF SPORTS MONEY.

KERNEN: RIGHT.

ROENICK: WE HAD TO EARN OUR MONEY. WE HAD TO PLAY FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AND BE REALLY PRODUCTIVE BEFORE WE STARTED MAKING IT. NOW THESE KIDS COME IN AT 18 YEARS OLD AND THEY ARE GIVEN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. WHERE IS THE MOTIVATION TO PLAY AND DIG AND HAVE TO DO THE THINGS? SO ALL THE SUDDEN, THEY GET HURT. OH, YOU KNOW, MAYBE I DON'T HAVE TO PLAY TONIGHT, I DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHETHER I'M GOING TO MAKE MY MONEY OR I'M GOING TO BE – THE MONEY IS GIVEN TO THEM RIGHT AWAY. SO IT MAKES IT A LITTLE EASIER FOR THE ATHLETE THESE DAYS.

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