(CBS DETROIT) – The new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is walking in on the job with a big challenge at hand.

Elizabeth Hertel was slapped with a lawsuit Tuesday by attorneys representing “Let Them Play Michigan” and other advocacy groups, calling on the health department to resume high school winter contact sports.

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“You open all sorts of indoor activities that are allowed. Why not high school sports?” said Attorney Peter Ruddell. 

The complaint comes following a weekend rally where parents, student athletes and coaches pleaded with state officials to lift the ban.

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A letter sent to Hertel states the current health order to resume contact sports Feb. 21 is unconstitutional and has no rational basis for prohibiting competition.

Ruddell raised the issue that gym class is still in session throughout the state, which could possibly pose the same risk.

“The opportunity for student athletes to compete is narrow we felt it was time to make sure that everyone had the same sense of urgency that our student athletes, parents, coaches and school administrators have,” he said.

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MDHHS spokesperson Lynn Sutfin says the new virus variant raised concerns about contact sports and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is reviewing current mitigation measures.

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